Oct. 28, 2005
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Three second-half goals propelled the South Carolina men's soccer team to a 4-1 victory over the University of Tulsa Friday night in Conference USA action at Stone Stadium in Columbia. USC improved to 7-6-1 overall and 4-1-1 in league games and clinched one of eight spots in the Conference USA Tournament. Tulsa fell to 4-6-6 and 1-4-3 in Conference USA play.
"I'm really proud of our team tonight. Tulsa is a very good for and I have a lot of respect for the way they play. This was probably the most attractive game I've seen this year, anywhere," South Carolina Head Coach Mark Berson said. "Both teams were going up and down the field. I give our guys a lot of credit for putting on a great performance, particularly in the second half. We just raised our play a notch in the second half. Defensively, we were sound. Tulsa scores a lot of goals and they're a high-powered team in the attack. I was pleased with our defensive effort. We gave up a goal on a set piece. That's always difficult. In the run of the play, we did a good job of shutting them down. It's great to score four goals, and it's a good time of the year to be scoring four goals. It's a big win in the conference, a quality win against a team that is one of the better teams in the country, even though their record may not indicate it."
Carolina drew first blood in the 24th minute when senior Josh Alcala tallied his fourth goal of the season off of sophomore J.D. Moon's corner kick. Alcala knocked the ball into the lower right corner to put the Gamecocks on top, 1-0.
Tulsa responded almost immediately, scoring its only goal of the night on a corner kick. Eric Burkholder's corner kick was headed toward the goal by Joe Wear. The ball rippled off a USC defender, hit the cross bar and bounced into the net.
The Gamecocks emerged from the locker room after halftime ready to get after it. It didn't take long for USC to gain the lead.
Junior Mike Sambursky struck for his fourth goal of the season at the 48:34 mark. Senior Eric Szeszycki switched sides of the field with the ball, playing inside the 18-yard box to a streaking Moon. Moon one-touched the ball and Sambursky knocked it into the left side of the goal.
Carolina continued to roll, punching in its third goal at 53:59 courtesy of junior Rob Charest. After passes from Szeszycki and Alcala, Charest settled the ball in the middle of the box from 15-yards out and fired a shot that TU goalkeeper Tyrel Lacey couldn't handle. The ball slipped from Lacey's grip and rolled into the lower right corner of the goal to make it 3-1, South Carolina.
Junior Ayo Akinsete polished off the Gamecocks' scoring effort with his team-leading fifth goal of the season in the 68th minute. Sambursky drove the ball up the endline and croosed it into the box. Akinsete was there to put it away.
South Carolina out-shot the Golden Hurricane, 17-13. USC freshman goalkeeper Mike Gustavson came up with four saves while Lacey finished with two stops for Tulsa.
The Gamecocks have won every match they have scored a goal in this season. After starting 0-5, Carolina has rallied to post a 7-1-1 record in its last nine matches.
Carolina is back in action on Sunday when Conference USA regular season champion SMU comes to Columbia for a 1 p.m. match. The Mustangs are undefeated in league play at 8-0-0 after Friday's 7-0 win at East Carolina and will be playing in their final regular season match against the Gamecocks.
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