Gamecocks Upset No. 10 UAB in Comeback Thriller

 

Nov. 3, 2013

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - With goals from sophomore midfielder Jeffrey Torda and junior forward Asa Kryst in the 85th minute, South Carolina (7-5-5, 4-1-3 C-USA) upset No. 10 UAB (11-4-1, 4-3-1 C-USA) 4-3 in a back-and-forth thriller at West Campus Field. Freshman forward Eli Dent also scored in the match for the Gamecocks. The win propels South Carolina past the Blazers in the Conference USA standings. South Carolina is now in third place with 15 points.

UAB looked to be on its way to victory after a goal from senior midfielder Moses Adeniran with less than seven minutes remaining. Sophomore defender Ian Svantesson was credited with the assist on the goal that gave the Blazers a 3-2 lead.

It took the Gamecocks less than two minutes to pull even for the second time in the match. Junior midfielder Stephen Anderson sent a ball towards Torda. The midfielder contained the ball and sent it to the lower left corner of the goal to tie the match at 3-3.

Just 44 seconds later, Kryst found himself on the other end of a cross from freshman defender Koty Millard. Kryst deftly netted what would be the game-winner with just 5:03 on the clock.

"To beat the number 10 team in the country on the road is a good accomplishment. We had to come from behind twice to secure the win, which really speaks to the determination and fighting power of this team," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said of the victory. "We've played a tough schedule. These guys are battle-hardened, and they showed it this afternoon. It's also a very important win in the conference."

With the Gamecocks aggressively looking for offense in the first half, Torda collected a loose ball in the six-yard box and pushed it past freshman keeper Joe Kuzminsky for his third goal of the season. The tally gave South Carolina an early 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.

In the 26th minute, the Blazers equalized. Sophomore forward Freddy Ruiz took the ball to the endline and found senior midfielder Norris Howze near the top of the six-yard box. Howze fired a low ball through traffic for UAB's first shot of the match. The ball found the net towards the near post, tying the score at 1-1.

With the clock ticking down before halftime, UAB was awarded a corner kick. Initially, the Blazers could not make anything happen, but after the ball dangerously bounced around, sophomore forward Karl Chester sent a header towards freshman Marco Velez. The Gamecock keeper saved the shot back into play and right back to Chester. The forward quickly fired once again, but Velez made a second save to keep the match tied 1-1 at the break.

It took UAB just 10 minutes in the second half to take its first lead of the match. Senior midfielder Patrick Huang sailed a long free kick into the box. Junior defender Darion Copeland was on the other end, placing a header into the back of the net for a 2-1 score.

Set-up by a long ball from senior midfielder J.P. Rafferty, Dent leveled the score at 2-2 on a well-placed strike to the keeper's right in the 61st minute.

The Blazers nearly retook the lead less than five minutes later. Ruiz was by himself and Velez came off his line to defend. The forward sent a rocket past Velez, but the ball clanked off the post and out of play.

The Blazers made the next move, retaking the lead on Adeniran's goal in the 83rd minute.

South Carolina equalized with Torda's second goal of the day and took the 4-3 lead on Kryst's tally, but UAB would not go away quietly.

Senior midfielder Chase Wickham had an attempt blocked by a Gamecock defender in the 87th minute.

Desperately trying to send the match into overtime, UAB secured back-to-back corners in the 89th minute. Adeniran was able to get a shot off after the second opportunity, but Velez held his line to preserve the lead.

With just 12 seconds on the clock, Howze gave the Gamecocks a scare with a rocket that flew straight to the goal. The ball hit the crossbar and sailed out of play to give South Carolina the 4-3 victory.

Twelve of the Gamecocks' 21 shots were on frame and the defense limited UAB to 15 shots, with six on frame. UAB won the corner kick statistic 9-3.

Velez collected three saves in the win over the top-ranked offense in the country. For the Blazers, Kuzminsky had seven saves on the day.

The last time the Gamecocks defeated a top-10 team was a 1-0 decision on September 6, 2012, at then-No. 2 USF.

South Carolina returns to Stone Stadium for the regular-season finale against No. 24 Old Dominion on Saturday, November 9. Kick is set for 7 p.m., with senior night festivities taking place shortly before.