Seniors Lead No. 16 South Carolina Soccer Past UCF, 2-1
Oct. 21, 2006
COLUMBIA, S.C.-- Seniors Mike Sambursky (Katy, Texas) and Ayo Akinsete (London, England) each scored a goal for the No. 16 South Carolina men's soccer team in a 2-1 victory over UCF on Senior Night Saturday at Stone Stadium. The Gamecocks improved to 11-3-1 overall and 4-2-1 in Conference USA play while the Golden Knights fell to 3-8-2 and 1-3-1 in league games.
"I'm really proud of our team tonight. This was our third game in seven days and the guys had to dig deep to get the win.," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. "I was pleased with the effort, particularly in the second half. "
South Carolina won its eighth straight match at home and finished the 2006 regular season with an 8-1-0 record.
Sambursky put South Carolina on the scoreboard in the 15th minute. Sophomore Spencer Lewis (Irmo, S.C.) picked up the ball in the Gamecocks' half of the field and threaded a beautiful pass ahead to Akinsete on the run. Akinsete dished the ball to Sambursky, who knocked it into the lower left corner of the net to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 advantage.
"The goal was a tremendous piece of attacking play," Berson noted.
UCF equalized in the 38th minute by taking advantage of a Gamecock miscue. South Carolina's defense misplayed a ball just outside of its own 18-yard box and Zak Boggs gained possession and hit the back of the net. It was Boggs' team-leading fifth goal of the year.
"I think we had a break in concentration and let it get away from us after we went up 1-0. In the second half, we stepped up and put in a tremendous effor," Berson said.
For the early part of the second half, neither team created a dangerous scoring chance, but South Carolina finally broke through in the 79th minute and this time it was Akinsete putting the ball in the goal. Senior Ralph Pace (Boston, Va.) gave Akinsete a good pass near the top of the 18-yard box and Akinsete buried the ball into the lower right corner. The strike was Akinsete's fifth goal on the season and third game winner.
Carolina took 10 total shots to nine for UCF, and the Gamecocks were called offsides eight times in the match.
Gamecock sophomore goalkeeper Mike Gustavson (Aiken, S.C.) saved six UCF shots on the night. South Carolina freshman Mark Wiltse (Belle Meade, N.J.), a regular in the starting lineup, sat out of tonight's match due to yellow card accumulation.
"It was great night for our seniors," Berson said. "They have meant a lot to this program over the last four years. We had a wonderful crowd and I know our team is happy to send those guys out with a win."
The Gamecocks travel to Tulsa, Okla., for their final regular season match against a on Saturday, Oct. 28. South Carolina will face the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane at 8:05 p.m. ET.