Sept. 18, 2005
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Junior Ayo Akinsete's goal in the second overtime pushed South Carolina to a 2-1 win over Loyola-Chicago at Stone Stadium Sunday afternoon in the adidas-South Carolina Gamecock Classic. The Gamecocks (1-5-0) rallied from behind to pick up their first win of the season, while Loyola fell to 1-3-1 on the year.
"I'm very pleased for the team to get the win," head coach Mark Berson said. "They kept working and pushing and competing for the entire game. It was a battle. Loyola Chicago is a very disciplined, very organized team. I'm really proud of our team. With the way the season has started, their heads could have gone down after out-shooting them 11-3 in the first half and being down a goal. Not with this group, they're winners, they're fighters. I'm sure we're going to push on from here and continue to build on this."
South Carolina controlled possession in the opening half and peppered the goal with 11 shots, and forced Loyola-Chicago goalkeeper Brad Sommer to make eight saves. Mike Sambursky led the Gamecocks with five shots, four of which were on frame. Still, the Gamecocks found themselves trailing at the half.
The Ramblers scored the first goal of the match on their third shot in the 43rd minute of play. USC had a defensive breakdown, and Reed Cataldo was able to get his foot on the ball, scoring it from the right post to make it, 1-0.
In the second half, USC continued to battle and create scoring chances. Finally, in the 84th minute, senior Eric Szeszycki found the back of the net. Freshman Brennan Williams was fouled just outside the 18-yard box, setting up a free kick. Rob Charest took the free kick, but it was deflected out of the box and landed at Szeszycki's feet near the top of the "18" on the right side. Szeszycki rifled the shot into the back of the net to tie the match, snapping Carolina's scoreless streak at just over 500 minutes. The goal was the seventh of Szeszycki's career.
Loyola was dealt a blow when Kevin Harrigan was shown his second yellow card at the 88:51 mark and subsequently ejected from the match. Harrigan's red card left the Ramblers a man down the rest of the way.
The two teams battled through the first overtime still tied before the Gamecocks won the match in the 107th minute. Sophomore J.D. Moon slipped a pass to Akinsete in the box and Akinsete drove the ball left to right from 10 yards out for his first goal of the season and the 13th of his career.
Carolina out-shot the Ramblers, 32-10 overall, including a 10-2 advantage in overtime. Gamecock freshman goalkeeper Mike Gustavson finished the match with three saves. Sommer closed the match with 11 saves for the Ramblers.
"I think what we have to continue to do right now is to go out and compete real hard every time we go out on the field. The team has done that," Berson said. "I don't think there's been any lack of effort during the course of this opening stretch of games. Today, it was rewarded."
College of Charleston defeated Penn, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon to claim the adidas-South Carolina Gamecock Classic title. The Cougars tied Loyola-Chicago, 2-2, on Friday night. Penn placed second by virtue of its 2-0 win over USC on Friday. The Gamecocks were third and Loyola-Chicago finished in fourth.
South Carolina is back in action on Wednesday, Sept. 21, when it hosts UNC-Wilmington at Stone Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
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