Nov. 1, 2006
TULSA, Okla.-- Fourth-seeded South Carolina fell to fifth-seeded UAB, 3-2, on a last minute goal in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament in Tulsa, Okla., at the Hurricane Soccer and Track Complex Wednesday afternoon. The Gamecocks played a man down for the final 30 minutes of the match after an ejection. South Carolina's record dropped to 11-5-1 while UAB moved to 10-6-2.
UAB's Jerson Monteiro scored the decisive goal with 49 seconds left in regulation on an assist from Two-Boys Gumede. The goal came after South Carolina weathered the storm of playing a man down for nearly 30 minutes.
"It's a disappointing loss because we had control of the game and lost it," head coach Mark Berson said. "Losing a player and going a man down in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament was too much for us to overcome. Our players fought very hard as they had to play in that situation and it's a credit to all of them. The team worked hard after a quick turnaround, traveling back to Tulsa after one day in Columbia. We had some guys who were ill and they fought through it."
With a tie match at 2-2, Carolina senior Ayo Akinsete was shown a red card at the 59:32 mark following a skirmish.
The Gamecocks had the lead twice, but could not hold on to it.
Senior Mike Sambursky put the Gamecocks on the scoreboard in the 14th minute. Following a UAB foul, Makan Hislop played the ensuing free kick to Akinsete, who was centered in front of the goal at the top of the 18-yard box. Akinsete passed the ball to his right and Sambursky blasted a shot. UAB goalkeeper Wes Johnson got a hand on the ball, but it was not enough to stop the flight of the ball from hitting the back of the net. The goal was Sambursky's seventh of the season and ran his season points total to 22.
The Blazers equalized at 37:16 on a set piece. Carlo Schiavoni crossed a corner kick that was headed by Trey Gregory on the far post. Michael Biggs scored on a low shot that beat goalkeeper Mike Gustavson.
The Gamecocks went back on top with 1:05 to play in the first half. Shortly after he entered the game, freshman Schuyler Reardon's throw in found Ralph Pace and Pace headed it home for his first goal of the year.
The Blazers tied the match again in the 54th minute when Trey Gregory poked the ball into the goal after a lengthy goal line scramble.
Overall, UAB out-shot South Carolina 20-12, gaining the advantage after the Gamecocks went down a man. The Blazers took nine corner kicks to Carolina's two. Sambursky led Carolina with five shots.
Gustavson made seven saves in the match and Johnson finished with two stops for UAB. The Blazers also had a team save.
UAB will face top-seeded SMU in the semifinals. The Mustangs defeated Florida International, 6-0, in the first match of the day. South Carolina was eliminated from the tournament.
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