Oct. 7, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina men's soccer team (4-5-2, 1-2-1 C-USA) earned a 2-1 victory over visiting UCF (4-4-2, 1-1-0 C-USA) in Conference USA action at Stone Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Redshirt-sophomore midfielder Hunter Wyer and freshman midfielder Ryan Arambula both scored the first goal of their career for Carolina in the victory.
"A conference win is very key," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. "I give our guys credit. They have fought really hard this year and we've had some difficult results that didn't go our way, even though we played well enough to maybe end up on the other side of them. I thought the mental toughness of our guys today really showed through.
"I thought we created a lot of really good chances. Once again, we didn't wilt when we missed on chances. That mental toughness was the key to this game. When UCF scored, we were resilient and tough enough to get the win. That's what we need every game from here on out."
The Gamecocks held a 16-15 advantage in overall shots, including a 9-5 upperhand in shots on goal. Junior striker Bradlee Baladez had four shots on goal to pace the squad, while Wyer and Arambula were credited with goals, and freshman midfielder Jeffrey Torda and sophomore forward Snoopy Davidson with assists. Netminder Alex Long collected four saves in goal, including three in the second half.
The Knights were led by Deshorn Brown with two shots on frame, while Andrew Quintana tallied the UCF goal. Goalkeeper Sebastian Evers collected a game high six saves in frame.
Baladez had Carolina's first of four attempts on frame in the first half just over five minutes into the match, a header, which Evers tipped past the post for a Gamecock corner. UCF cleared the ensuing opportunity to keep the contest scoreless early.
Brown looked to give UCF an advantage in the 12th minute, hitting a one-time volley towards frame, but the attempt was past the left goal post.
Both goalkeepers were tested midway through the half. Evers collected a save on a header attempt from defender Eric Martinez, and Long was challenged at the opposite end from Brown seconds later, but neither team was able to mark the scoreboard.
Following a round of substitutions, Wyer would give the Gamecocks a first-half advantage. He collected a ball near midfield and sent it towards the left flank into the path of Torda, who hit a one-time cross within the UCF six-yard box that Wyer headed to the far post for a 1-0 Carolina upperhand in the 40th minute.
The score held through the half, and the Gamecocks continued to put pressure on the Knights' defense. It wouldn't take long for Carolina to extend its lead. Building an attack out of the midfield in the 59th minute, Baladez had an attempt on goal that hit the post for a rebound, which Davidson hit towards goal, but the shot was saved off the goal line by a UCF defender. In perfect position at the top of the six-yard box, Arambula sent the deflected shot into the back of the net for the eventual game winner, giving the Gamecocks a 2-0 advantage midway through the second half.
UCF responded just over three minutes later, pulling back within one goal on an unassisted tally from Quintana. The Knights defender sent a strike into the upper left corner of frame from 25 yards out to near the score at 2-1.
Both teams had their chances the remainder of the half. UCF would nearly tie the contest on a shot from Brown in the 78th minute, but the Gamecock defense would play solid the remainder of the way, and Carolina held advantage late in the contest to close the conference victory.
South Carolina continues league play when UAB travels to Columbia on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. ET, match. Live stats and free live video will be available via GamecocksOnline.com.
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