Nov. 9, 2005
DALLAS - The University of South Carolina men's soccer team advanced to the Conference USA Tournament semifinals after a penalty kick shootout with Kentucky on Wednesday at Westcott Field on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Gamecock goalkeeper Mike Gustavson lived up to his billing as Conference USA's Freshman of the Year with two saves in the shootout and Carolina converted its first three PK attempts to move on in the postseason.
"I was very proud of our team. I thought they dug in. As the game went on, they got stronger and overcame a very determined Kentucky in the end on penalty kicks," South Carolina coach Mark Berson said. "We have survived to advance against a team that is one of the toughest defensive teams in the conference, a team that is very physical. Our guys never backed down, and they deserved the result tonight. I'm very proud of their effort and I'm excited about us advancing into the next round."
No. 2 seed South Carolina and the seventh-seeded Wildcats played to a scoreless tie through two overtimes, send the match to be decided by a shootout. By NCAA rule, the game is recorded as a tie on both team's records. The Gamecocks are 10-6-2, while Kentucky ended its season at 6-7-6.
In the shootout, South Carolina went first. Gamecock junior Ryan Leeton, a third-team all-Conference USA selection, knocked his attempt past Kentucky goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, to give USC the early advantage. Nathan Li shot first for UK, missing his attempt high over the goal.
First-team all-conference pick Mike Sambursky put away his PK to extend Carolina's advantage. On Kentucky's next attempt, Gustavson saved Masumi Turnbull's shot to give South Carolina a 2-0 advantage heading into the third round of attempts.
Senior Josh Alcala, who is also a first-team All-Conference USA selection, calmly drilled his PK attempt to back the Wildcats against the wall. On Kentucky's next attempt, Gustavson ended the shootout with another save on Bingy Lara's shot.
The Gamecocks out-shot the Wildcats, 15-11, in the match and attempted nine corner kicks while giving up just three. Carolina had multiple scoring chances during regulation and overtime, but couldn't quite put one away. Junior Ralph Pace, a third-team all-conference honoree, and junior Ayo Akinsete had two shots each saved by Gruenebaum.
Gustavson made a pair of saves for the Garnet and Black and registered his third shutout of the season. Gruenebaum finished with five saves.
South Carolina will face No. 6-seed Memphis (8-7-2) on Friday at 5 p.m. in the semifinals. The Tigers defeated No. 3-seed UAB in the tournament's first game on Wednesday, 2-1. The regular season meeting between the two teams ended in a 2-2 draw at Memphis.
South Carolina 0, Kentucky 0(South Carolina advances with 3-0 decision in penalty kick shootout).
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