Oct. 29, 2017
Men's Soccer vs. Old Dominion
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina (5-8-2, 1-4-2 C-USA) tallied three unanswered goals en route to a 3-2 comeback win over Old Dominion (8-5-2, 5-2-0 C-USA) on Senior Day at Stone Stadium. Justin Sukow booted in the game-winner in the 82nd minute Sunday afternoon as the Gamecocks picked up three huge points in the Conference USA standings with the victory.
The Monarchs took advantage of some defensive miscues early in the match by Carolina, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the 22nd minute. The Gamecocks regrouped after the second goal and would control possession for a vast majority in the remainder of the first half.
A hand ball was called on ODU in the box awarding Carolina a penalty kick in the 42nd minute. Do-it-all sophomore striker Luca Mayr's number was called and he delivered, fooling the keeper and slotting it past him to cut the deficit to 2-1.
After the reset, senior Christoffer Wallander Ianev lofted a beautiful ball down the sideline in the 43rd minute from Carolina's defensive half. Freshman forward Benjamin Gilligan was able to corral the pass off his chest from just outside the 18. Mertcan Akar, ODU's goalkeeper, came off his line and Gilligan chipped the equalizer over his head tying the match 2-2 just before the half.
The Gamecocks continued their momentum into the final 45 minutes, controlling possession while limiting the opponent's chances. Freshman Aidan O'Brien and sophomore Smith Dawsey provided a big lift off the bench in half two in the midfield as both logged single-game career-highs for minutes played.
ODU threatened on three set pieces in the middle portions of half two, but the Carolina defense held firm. Senior keeper William Pyle was stellar down the stretch with two saves and several other big plays to keep the score tied 2-2.
The Gamecocks countered a Monarch corner kick in the 79th minute as Mayr found space in the middle of the team's attacking third of the field on a transition chance. O'Brien broke loose down the sideline towards the corner and Mayr fired a pass to the wide-open freshman. O'Brien played it back to the middle and Sukow rocketed the ball in from just outside the six near post for the eventual game-winning goal.
"It's a big win for us for a number of reasons. First of all, in Conference USA, we need the points to help us as far as getting into the conference tournament, and it's important as far as building momentum going into the UAB game. Right now, the UAB game on Friday night determines everything for us as far as the season. To come from behind this afternoon was really big, to win against a good team was really big and I'm really proud of our guys." -- South Carolina men's soccer head coach Mark Berson
After trailing 2-0 for most of the first half, South Carolina was able to completely swing the momentum tying the match with two goals in the final four minutes before halftime.
Four of the five Gamecocks players who came off the bench logged 25-plus minutes in the match, led by Dawsey (35) and O'Brien (54).
Carolina travels to Birmingham, Ala. for the regular season finale on Friday vs. UAB (5-6-4 overall, 1-5-1 C-USA). Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. and a berth to the 2017 Conference USA Tournament in Norfolk, Va. is on the line as the teams will battle it out for the No. 7 seed. Win and the Gamecocks are in. An FAU loss at Marshall and a draw by Carolina will also punch the team's ticket to the conference tournament.
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