Oct. 20, 2017
Men's Soccer at Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- South Carolina (4-8-2, 0-4-2 C-USA) picked up a crucial point in the Conference USA standings with a 1-1 draw at Charlotte (5-4-4, 2-1-3 C-USA) on Friday night. Team captain Peyton Ericson headed in his first career goal in the 86th minute to tie the score and send the match to overtime.
With the team trailing 1-0 late in the match, sophomore striker Luca Mayr sent in a perfectly placed corner right in front of the six late in the match. Ericson flew in out of nowhere to knock the ball home near post.
The Gamecocks dominated the first overtime period controlling possession with abundance of quality opportunities to end the match. Ericson and freshman Justin Sukow each got off shots from just outside the 18 in the 93rd minute that were blocked. Sukow got loose in space a minute later and ripped a shot near post, but All-American keeper Elliot Panicco held firm on his line and made the stop. Carolina had one more chance with 20 seconds left in the first overtime period. Christoffer Wallander Ianev sent a cross in from the wide side of the field and Petter Soelberg headed it high over the goal.
In the second overtime, Andre Streete had the best opportunity for the Gamecocks as he found himself right in front of the net with the ball. He put a strike on it with his left foot but a Charlotte defender was able to block it away. Sophomore Aleksander Bjerke Christensson took aim at the goal in transition in the 106th minute, but his shot was scooped up by Panicco. The counter attack chance came after senior William Pyle made an outstanding save on a close-range shot by Daniel Brito. It marked his eighth stop of the match, which tied a single-game career-high.
Charlotte controlled the match for a good majority of the second half, out-shooting the Gamecocks 10-2. Pyle, who leads C-USA in saves and ranks in the top-20 nationally, made big save after big save thought to keep the score 1-0 and Carolina within striking distance of tying the match.
In the half one, Carolina delivered the first shot of the match as Tucker Monheimer corralled a goal kick from William Pyle in the Gamecocks’ attacking third and laced a shot high from just outside the 18. Carolina had another outstanding opportunity in the 18th minute after a ball was booted around inside the box that was eventually possessed by Soelberg 12-yards from the far right side of the six. Soelberg unloaded a bullet far post, but Pannico made an outstanding full-extension save.
It was Monheimer again on another chance for Carolina in the 21st minute as he took a through ball but was double-teamed right outside the six and dispossessed. The Gamecocks threatened again in the 25th minute as Soelberg tapped one in space to Mayr just outside the 18. He nailed a left-footed shot right at the middle of the goal, but Pannico was there for the stop.
Charlotte took the lead on its first quality chance of the match in the 30th minute after Ryan Spaulding took control of a deflection right outside the six and was somehow able to sneak a shot far post past several Carolina defenders. The 49ers nearly scored again on a set piece just before the half, but they were whistled for offsides and took a 1-0 lead into the locker room after 45 minutes.
"We challenged our guys at halftime. It was not our best first half in spite of the fact that I felt like we had the edge statically. We did some really good things in the first half, but we made a lot of errors and really challenged them at halftime to kick it up a notch. I think in the second half we did. In the overtime, a credit to our guys and how hard they’ve worked all year. In the first overtime I thought we really, really had an edge. We weren’t able to quite get the goal. The second overtime was really kind of equal as both teams had some good chances. I’m really proud of our guys. They had a lot to fight for in this game, and they did a great job. " -- South Carolina men's soccer head coach Mark Berson
Ericson’s header in the 86th minute tied the match and gave Carolina all the momentum heading into the first overtime period. His goal came off a set piece. The Gamecocks had a 9-6 edge in corners on the final stat sheet.
Pyle made six spectacular saves in the second half and both overtime periods en route to matching his single-game career-high.
Carolina has a quick turnaround as it faces another tough road test next Tuesday night at North Carolina State (7-4-3, 2-3-1 ACC). Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Raleigh on the ACC Network Extra. The Wolfpack are on a five-match unbeaten streak heading into a tough conference road match at No. 5 Louisville on Saturday night.
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