Nov. 4, 2017
Men's Soccer at UAB
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — South Carolina (6-8-2, 2-4-2 C-USA) shutout UAB (5-7-4, 1-6-1 C-USA), 1-0, in the regular season finale on the road Friday Night to punch the team's ticket to the 2017 Conference USA Tournament next week. With the win, head coach Mark Berson notched his 500th career victory in NCAA Division I Men's Soccer.
Senior Christoffer Wallander Ianev scored his first career goal in the 69th minute for the game-winner. The Gamecocks got loose in transition after a big save from senior William Pyle on the other end. Carolina swung the ball back around up top on its initial counter attack off the save. Wallander Ianev broke wide on the far sideline as Mitchell Myers fired a perfect pass to him. The transfer defender then bended the ball into the net far post for the score.
The Blazers had five shots and a pair of corner kicks down the stretch in the final 14 minutes, but the team's defense held firm and Pyle was outstanding in goal. Five of his seven saves in the match came after halftime.
UAB controlled the pace for large portions of the match the final 45 minutes, out-shooting Carolina 13-3 in the second half while holding a 7-4 edge in corner kicks for the match. Pyle and the Gamecocks defense made big play after big play in crunch time when it mattered most.
Carolina had three outstanding chances in the first 45 minutes on its five shots in half one. In the 27th minute, Mayr spied UAB's keeper out of position and lofted a high-arching shot on target, but James Teal was able to punch it over the bar out of bounds. In the 30th minute, it was Mayr again, this time on a free kick from the edge of the 18 towards the end line boundary. He crossed one right in front of the net and Peyton Ericson was able to get a foot on it to send it home, but a UAB defender slid down and was able to clear it off the line.
Carolina again threatened in the 33rd minute, Justin Sukow took a deflection off a corner kick into the box. He chipped a shot just wide from outside the 18. The match was scoreless at halftime as the Gamecocks limited UAB to just three shots.
"I don't know if I'll ever remember 200, 300 or 400, but I don't think I'll ever forget 500 because it puts us in the conference tournament now and these guys fought so hard all night. They played really, really tough. We knew it was two teams that had their backs against the wall, two teams that had to win to go to the conference tournament. Everything was on the line tonight. To be honest, UAB had a good bit of the play tonight and we had spots as well. At the end, we were able to get the goal and lockout the win. I'm tremendously proud of our players. They fought and scrapped all year. When it really counted, when their backs we're really against the wall, on the road and they got the win. That's a great, great feeling and I can't be more proud of them." -- South Carolina men's soccer head coach Mark Berson
Wallander Ianev's goal in the 69th minute propelled Carolina to the narrow victory.
Pyle's seven huge saves were ultimately the difference in the match as he posted his third clean sheet of the 2017 season.
The Gamecocks will be heading to Norfolk, Va. for the C-USA Tournament as the No. 7 seed. Carolina will face the No. 2 seed host school Old Dominion in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Nov. 8. at the ODU Soccer Complex. The Gamecocks scored three unanswered goals to knockoff the Monarchs 3-2 on Senior Day last Sunday in the teams only previous meeting this season.
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