Men's Soccer Collects 2-1 Win Over Tulsa
Sept. 30, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina men's soccer team (4-4-1, 2-0-0 C-USA) earned a 2-1 win over Tulsa (4-5-0, 0-1-0 C-USA) on Friday night in Conference USA action at Stone Stadium. Sophomore midfielder J.P. Rafferty tallied Carolina's first goal in the match, while the second goal was an own goal on Tulsa. Gamecock goalkeeper Alex Long earned one save in the win.
"We really worked this week on stepping up our pressure to the ball and that was a big focus of ours, and the guys responded tremendously," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. "I couldn't be more proud of the way they came out and executed the way we wanted to play tonight.
"Once again, this team came from behind. That's just a great quality, especially tonight, where I thought in the first half that goal was very much against the run of play. I thought we played exceptionally well, and then to get scored on, sometimes you can hang your head; but our guys didn't. They came roaring back in the second half. Give Tulsa credit. They played very well in the second half. They are the type of team that is always going to do that. They are a quality team and we always know it will be a good game."
Tulsa held a 14-12 upperhand in shots in the match, but the Gamecocks earned an 8-2 advantage in shots on goal. Sophomore forward Bradlee Baladez, who had the corner kick which resulted in Carolina's second goal, talled two shots on goal, as did freshman forward Snoopy Davidson. Rafferty's goal was his second of the season, while senior defender Danny Cates collected his second assist of the season on the tally.
Tulsa netminder Michael Murray earned a game-high five saves. The Golden Hurricane was led by freshman midfielder Tony Rocha with the goal and freshman midfielder Stephen Roberson earned the assist. Rocha led the squad with four shots.
Both teams had their offensive chances early in the contest, with South Carolina registering a shot just four minutes into the match, and Tulsa with a cross through the Gamecock six-yard box three minutes later.
South Carolina drew two yellow cards in the first 20 minutes, both of which resulted in a shot just over the cross bar by Rocha.
The Golden Hurricane marked the scoreboard first, with Rocha scoring on a near post shot from the corner of the 18-yard box in the 39th minute. Rocha collected a pass from Roberson and after one touch, hit a strike just inside the post for the 1-0 lead.
South Carolina continued to press on the offensive end throughout the half, knotting the score at 1-1 with just 39 seconds remaining in the stanza. Cates collected a loose ball at midfield and Rafferty received the pass and hit a high shot over Murray and off the post for the goal.
The score held through halftime, until Tulsa'a own goal in the 53rd minute. Baladez bent a corner kick towards frame which hit off a Tulsa defender and into the goal.
The Tulsa goalkeeper made an amazing save on a shot by Baladez with seconds remaining, and the Gamecock defense held strong down the stretch, as Carolina was able to improve to 2-0-0 in C-USA play with the win, its third straight over Tulsa.
South Carolina travels to UAB on Tuesday, continuing Conference USA play. Game time is set for 8 p.m. ET.