Sept. 21, 2005
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Propelled by a pair of first-half goals from Eric Szeszycki, South Carolina rolled past No. 25 UNC-Wilmington, 4-2, Wednesday night at Stone Stadium. Carolina picked up its second straight win and improved to 2-5-0 while the Seahawks were tagged with just their second loss and stand at 5-2-0 on the year.
"We showed our mental toughness coming back from a 1-0 deficit. We dug in and believed in ourselves," head coach Mark Berson, who won his 370th matach at USC tonight, said. "Things fell that hadn't been falling and I'm glad that guys were rewarded for their efforts. I like this team. It's got character and we showed that by coming back to score after giving up a goal twice. We met the challenge. It's important to answer like that. This team is gaining confidence, as well they should."
Mike Sambursky had a goal and an assist in the match and senior Josh Alcala earned two assists. Junior transfer Rob Charest scored his first goal at USC and sophomore Ramon Paracat also collected his first career assist.
UNC-Wilmington jumped to a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute as Keith Shevlin fed Will Clark and Clark knocked the ball past Gamecock goalkeeper Mike Gustavson.
Szeszycki struck for his first goal at the 23:01 mark following a well-built play. Mike Sambursky played the ball to Josh Alcala and slipped it to Szeszycki in the middle of the box. Szeszycki fired a shot into the back of the net to tie the match, 1-1.
Szeszycki added his second goal a minute and a half later. The captain dribbled the ball into the 18-yard box and through three defenders before shooting it right to left for the score at 24:30. Szeszycki has scored in back-to-back matches and now has three goals on the season and nine for his career. All six of his goals in 2004 came by way of penalty kicks, but this season, he has scored each time during the run of play.
"Eric was outstanding, penalty area to penalty area tonight," Berson said. "He was rewarded for his effort. He's played well all season, and I'm thrilled for him to follow his goal against Loyola (on Sunday) with two goals tonight."
With USC up 2-1, the Seahawks knotted the game at two in the 55th minute on a goal by Chris Murray. Carolina saved a UNCW shot off the line, but the deflected ball landed just outside the "18" and Murray rifled the shot into the goal.
South Carolina responded six minutes later when Sambursky scored from 10 yards out on the right side. Paracat and Alcala both earned assists on the play.
Charest added an insurance goal in the 73rd minute, picking up a deflected shot by Sambursky on the left post and pushing it across the line.
Carolina out-shot UNCW, 20-14, and Gustavson finished with three saves. Seahawk golie Brad Knighton made six saves.
The Gamecocks begin a four-match road trip on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Charlotte. The match is set for a 7 p.m. start at Transamerica Field.
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