The South Carolina men's soccer team will host its annual tournament, the Gamecock Classic, this weekend in Columbia at Stone Stadium. Below are team notes on each of the four participating teams. Be sure to check back later this week for full game notes, a video preview from Coach Berson and tournament times and information.
South Carolina (host), 1-0-0 overall record
The Gamecocks are receiving votes in the Aug. 28 NSCAA Top 25 Poll.
The Gamecocks earned a 1-0 victory in the 2012 season opener vs. intrastate rival College of Charleston last Friday.
South Carolina is led by veteran head coach Mark Berson in his 35th season as the head coach in Columbia. Berson was the 2011 Conference USA Coach of the Year and is among the all-time leaders for Division I victories.
The 2012 season marks the 35th season of varsity soccer at South Carolina.
In last Friday's season opener, R-sophomore midfielder Stephen Anderson earned the game winner, which marked the first goal of his college career. Junior defender Trevor Hubbard and freshman forward Wesley Eads both collected an assist on the goal.
R-junior goalkeeper Alex Long played a stellar match in net for the Gamecocks vs. Charleston, earning the fourth shutout of his career with three saves.
The Gamecocks own a combined record of 5-6-3 all-time against teams that are in the Gamecock Classic field. South Carolina has played Kentucky the most, with that series tied at 4-4-2. The Gamecocks will not face UK at this weekend's event, as the two teams will matchup later this regular season in Conference USA play.
South Carolina has faced St. John's twice prior to Friday's meeting. Both previous meetings came at neutral sites, with the Red Storm winning both of those contests during the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
The Gamecocks have faced Northwestern twice all-time, most recently during the 2009 season when the team's battled through double overtime for a scoreless 0-0 tie at NU competing in the Lakeside Classic.
South Carolina was selected to finish first in C-USA in the league's preseason poll earlier this month.
Kentucky Wildcats, 0-1-0 overall record
Kentucky suffered a 4-3 loss at Dayton last Sunday in the 2012 season opener.
The Wildcats are led by first-year head coach Johan Cedergren. Cedergren, a former standout on the field for Cincinnati, was previously the associate head coach at Dartmouth. While a Bearcat, Cedergren helped guide Cincinnati to its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament during the 1998 season.
Kentucky returns several key members from last year's team that compiled a 9-9-2 overall record. Offensively, top scorers senior midfielder Matt Lodge (7g, 10a), junior forward Tyler Riggs (11g, 5 a) and senior midfielder Charley Pettys (3g, 7a) return.
Freshman goalkeeper Callum Irving earned the first start of his career in the opener at Dayton, collecting four saves.. Three battle for playing time at the position, however, as returner Jack Van Arsdale, and newcomer Dary Dewalt also wear the netminder jersey for the Wildcats.
Kentucky was picked to finish seventh in the Conference USA Preseason Poll.
St. John's Red Storm, 1-0-1 overall record
St. John's is ranked No. 15 in the Aug. 28 NSCAA Top 25 Poll.
St. John's posted a 3-0 victory over Boston University in the 2012 season opener last Friday, before earning a 1-1 tie vs. Colgate to end the opening weekend of play.
The team is led by head coach Dr. Dave Masur in his 22nd season as the head coach of the Red Storm. Masur has led the team to the 1996 national championship and four appearances in the College Cup.
The Red Storm returns 14 letterwinners, including six starters, for last year's NCAA Tournament team. Included in that group are senior midfielder Jack Bennett and sophomore defender Tim Parker, who were both selected to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team earlier this month.
For their efforts last weekend, both goalkeeper Rafael Diaz and Parker were selected to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll. Diaz collected three saves in the season-opening win vs. Boston University, the 16th shutout of his career. Parker anchored a defense that surrendered just one goal in two matches last weekend.
St. John's was picked to win the BIG EAST Red Division in the league's annual preseason poll. The Red Storm won last year's BIG EAST Tournament to receive the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Northwestern Wildcats, 0-0-1 overall record
Northwestern is ranked No. 25 in the Aug. 28 NSCAA Top 25 Poll
Northwestern battled Xavier to a 1-1 double-overtime tie in the 2012 season opener last Saturday.
The Wildcats are led by head coach Tim Lenahan in his 12th season. Lenahan was the 2011 Big Ten Coach of the Year. Former South Carolina assistant coach Mike Babst is also on staff at NU.
Northwestern returns a strong core from last year's team, including nine starters. Four All-Big Ten honorees return, including sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Miller, senior midfielder Chris Ritter, junior midfielder Lepe Seetane and sophomore defender Nikko Boxall. Seetane is the team's top returning goal scorer, having posted five goals in 2011.
The Wildcat defense allowed just 0.90 goals per game last season in collecting 10 shutouts.
The Wildcats were picked to finish first in the Big Ten Preseason Poll, which was announced earlier this month.