Sept. 18, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina men's soccer team (3-3-1) earned a thrilling 1-0 shutout victory over intrastate rival Clemson (1-5-2) in non-conference action at Stone Stadium on Tuesday night in front of a great crowd. Gamecock defender Eric Martinez scored his first goal of the season in the victory and goalkeeper Alex Long collected his fourth shutout of the 2012 campaign.
"I was really proud of our guys," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. "We worked very hard coming back from Charlotte in the last four days, and it was really the only time in the schedule when we had time to get extra work. I thought we were exceptionally tight defensively tonight. I thought we were really well organized. Obviously, it's a rivalry game, so there are going to be some mistakes and you want to play through those, but I thought our guys were tough and did a great job end to end tonight."
South Carolina held a 12-8 upperhand in shots in the match, including a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal. Martinez scored the game winner for Carolina, while freshman midfielder Ryan Arambula collected the first assist of his career.
Long collected his fourth shutout of the season and the seventh of his career with three saves in the match. The Carolina defensive line of Martinez, Kevin Stam, Mike Mangotic and Trevor Hubbard played stellar in the victory. The Gamecocks have now defeated Clemson in five of the last six matches between the two schools.
Clemson was led offensively by Preston Gayton with three shots, including two on frame, while goalkeeper Cody Mizell collected five saves.
South Carolina posted six shots in the opening half against two by Clemson, but the Tigers had a threat on frame in the 12th minute. Gayton hit a well-placed strike to the far post, which forced Long to make a one-handed, diving save to his right to block the attempt.
The teams traded possession through midfield before Davidson nearly scored on a breakaway midway through the half. The ball played to his feet over the top of the Clemson defense, Davidson ran towards frame, but Mizell left his line and made a sliding save just inside of the 18-yard box.
Freshman midfielder Jeffrey Torda had a near miss in the 38th minute, as his volley just skimmed the top of the cross bar, and classmate Wesley Eads nearly scored before the end of the half, after running down a loose ball in the Clemson six-yard box that Mizell would save.
Clemson was called for a handball with under 10 seconds left on the clock in the half 35 yards from goal. With the clock stopped on the official's call, Mangotic looked for the score on the set piece, but sent a hard shot just high of frame and the contest was scoreless at the half.
Clemson would have an attempt early in the second half, a wide shot by Austin Savage, and Carolina striker Bradlee Baladez would post a wide shot moments later, but the score held at 0-0 through the 60th minute.
The Gamecocks would mark the scoreboard in the 65th minute. Torda battled a Clemson defender, earning a loose ball near the Tigers' endline, which resulted in a South Carolina corner kick. Arambula sent a perfect cross towards the near post, which Martinez sent to the far post on a header for the deciding 1-0 Gamecocks upperhand.
Arambula would have an attempt sail high, and Long made another save on a shot from Clemson's Jack Metcalf with 10 minutes remaining, but the Gamecock defensive line played another strong match to close the Carolina victory.
South Carolina begins Conference USA play when it travels to face Tulsa on Friday. Game time for the match is set for 8 p.m. ET. Visit GamecocksOnline.com for live stats and live video information for the match.
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