Gamecocks Post 1-0 Win At No. 25 Kentucky In Regular Season Finale
Nov. 4, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The South Carolina men's soccer team posted a 1-0 victory on the road at No. 25 Kentucky on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both schools. The Gamecocks' record now stands at 5-11-2 on the year, with a 2-5-1 mark in league games. UK falls to 9-8-1 overall and 4-3-1 in C-USA contests.
"I'm really proud of our guys," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. "They have fought hard all year and we haven't been far from getting the results that we needed this year. Our guys really deserved the win. It was good to see them come through today and get a win on the road against a good Kentucky team."
Kentucky held an 18-10 advantage in shots in the contest, including a 5-3 upperhand in shots on goal. Junior striker Bradlee Baladez posted the game winner for Carolina in the 44th minute on a penalty kick after a Wildcat foul in the box. He, along with defender Kevin Stam, both posted three shots in the contest to pace Carolina, while UK was led by Matt Lodge with six attempts.
Goalkeeper Robert Beebe played the first half in net for Carolina, posting one save, before Alex Long finished out the contest in goal for the second half, playing stellar with four saves in the set. Wildcat goalkeeper Jack Van Arsdale collected two saves in the loss.
Kentucky posted eight shots in the first half, but just one on goal. Stam posted a shot saved by Van Arsdale in the 28th minute, and Lodge countered with an attempt 30 seconds later, but neither team had found the back of the net midway through the half.
After a South Carolina foul, Kentucky had its best chance of the first half with a set piece opportunity near the corner mark in the 40th minute. The ball was played inside the six-yard box to the head of Charles Pettys, who connected, but Carolina midfielder Jeffrey Torda was in perfect defensive position and saved the header attempt off the line.
The Gamecocks held momentum the remainder of the half, and Baladez gave Carolina a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute on a successful penalty kick attempt. Gamecock defender Mike Mangotic played a ball out of the defensive third downfield that was touched by Trent Rieflin into the path of Baladez, but the Gamecock striker was knocked down in the box by a Kentucky defender and awarded the PK.
Long replaced Beebe at the break. Kentucky threatened in the 57th minute with an attempt on goal from Gabriel Conelian, but Stam blocked the attempt three-yards in front of the goal line to preserve the lead.
Kentucky had a cross that sailed through the Gamecock six-yard box, before Gamecock midfielder Braeden Troyer had an attempt in the 73rd minute after a give-away from a UK defender on a throw-in attempt. Troyer collected the loose ball and hit a shot to the far post, which Van Arsdale saved.
UK's Tyler Riggs had a breakaway in the 79th minute that was hit over the goal line for a corner. On the ensuing free kick, Lodge hit a hard strike towards the crossbar, which Long saved for another UK corner and the Gamecocks were able to clear the cross.
Long made another stellar save on a shot from Lodge from six-yards out just moments later. The UK striker hit a rocket towards Long, but the Carolina netminder came up with the point-blank save to hold the lead. Long was forced to make two more saves in the next 90 seconds of play on the corner, and on another attempt from Lodge.
The Gamecock defense played solid the remainder of the half and Carolina posted its fifth shutout of the season in the 1-0 victory.