Gamecocks Win Third Straight Classic Title
Sept. 12, 2004
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina men's soccer team captured its own adidas-Gamecock Classic for the third straight season with a 1-0 win over Bucknell on Sunday afternoon at Stone Stadium. Sophomore Mike Sambursky headed in the game-winning goal in the 89th minute to lift the Gamecocks to 4-0 on the season. Bucknell slipped to 0-2-1.
"I'm very proud of the way this team performed this weekend," South Carolina coach Mark Berson said. "It was a tremendous effort from the opening to closing whistle. I think Friday's games took a lot out of all four teams, but today we were able to dig down deep to find a way to win. That was a lesson for our team. You keep pushing for 90 minutes and something good happens. "
Bucknell had a few scary chances in the opening half, but Gamecock goalkeeper Brad Guzan was up to the task, stopping three Bison shots. In addition, Bucknell collected six corner kick opportunities while the Gamecocks had none.
It was Sambursky who produced USC's best scoring chances of the first half. In the 16th minute, he fired a shot from 12 yards out, but Bison goalkeeper Adam Edwards came up with the save. In the 31st minute, Sambursky just beat a defender, but his shot at an empty net sailed wide right.
South Carolina came out with a bit of a spark to start the second half, controlling the field of play and beginning to put pressure on the Bison. Josh Alcala launched a shot on goal that was saved by Edwards, and Jose Ramos' chip shot went just inches over the cross bar in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Alcala just missed another close chance in the 65th minute. Cody Perrot played a nice ball to Ayo Akinsete in the middle of the 18-yard box. With his back to the goal, Akinsete head the ball to Alcala on the right. Alcala's left-footed offering went over the cross bar.
With 5:58 remaining, Bucknell's Patrick Mooney was shown his second yellow card of the match after getting tangled up with USC freshman Ramon Paracat. Mooney was ejected and the Bison were forced to play with 10 men the rest of the way.
With 1:36 left to play in regulation, Sambursky finally capitalized on Sebastian Lindholm's corner kick, heading the ball into the left corner of the net for his first goal of the season.
"Mike really rose to the occasion," Berson said. "Scoring a late goal was a tribute to us not losing our composure."
Of the 18 years South Carolina has hosted its annual Classic, the Gamecocks have now won the event 14 times, and own an impressive all-time record of 30-4-2 in their home tournament.
"With wins over William and Mary, Winthrop, Portland and Bucknell, our team is off to a really good start. I think we've established ourselves as a significant team on the national picture," Berson said.
Akinsete, who scored two goals in USC's 3-2 victory over No. 16 Portland on Friday night, was named the Offensive MVP of the Classic. Alcala, Sambursky and Makan Hislop also represented the Gamecocks on the All-Tournament Team.
In Sunday's first game, Portland scored in the first overtime to beat College of Charleston, 2-1. The Pilots (3-1-0) finished second in the event, College of Charleston (2-2-0) and Bucknell.
The Gamecocks are on the road next week competing in the University of Pennsylvania Tournament in Philadelphia, Pa. USC faces the host Quakers on Friday, Sept. 17, at 2:30 p.m. and battles Princeton at Noon on Sunday, Sept. 19.
2004 adidas-South Carolina Gamecock Classic
Michael Lookingland, Bucknell
Offensive MVP: Ayo Akinsete, South Carolina
Order of Team Finish: