COLUMBIA, S.C. -
South Carolina men's soccer opens the 2013 season this weekend with a home match against East Tennessee State on Friday and a road game at rival Clemson on Monday. Both games are set for 7 p.m. starts.
South Carolina is in its 36th season of varsity soccer in 2013.
South Carolina head coach Mark Berson is in his 37th season overall and his 36th season as head coach of the Gamecocks. He is assisted by former players Spencer Lewis and Joey Worthen, both in their second season. Tim O'Toole is the volunteer assistant coach.
The Gamecocks will play 11 regular-season contests at Stone Stadium this season, including the annual Gamecock Classic and four Conference USA matches.
South Carolina posted two shutouts in exhibition play this season, a 1-0 win over Mercer and a 2-0 win over Elon.
The Garnet and Black posted 31 shots in the pair of matches, with a decided 23-6 advantage over Mercer. The Gamecocks preferred quality over quantity against Elon, putting seven of their eight shots on frame.
Nine newcomers (seven freshmen and two transfers) join 15 letterwinners and four starters from the 2012 squad.
Junior Braden Troyer was selected to the Preseason All-Conference USA squad earlier this month. Last season, the Columbia, S.C., native earned second-team all-conference honors, was named to the Capital One Academic All-District 4 Team and earned a spot on the C-USA All-Academic Team.
Last season, the Gamecocks finished 5-11-2 (2-5-1 C-USA), a year removed from earning a share of the 2011 Conference USA Regular Season championship after a 6-1-1 conference campaign.
South Carolina in Season Openers
South Carolina owns a 29-5-1 all-time record in season openers. The Gamecocks have won five out of the last six season openers, with the lone loss coming in the 2011 season at College of Charleston in a 3-2 decision.
Scouting East Tennessee State
The Buccaneers have 16 letterwinners and seven starters returning from a 10-6-4 campaign in 2012 that resulted in a third-place finish in the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 5-2-1 record. Senior forward David Geno returns a year after setting single-season school records for goals (11), assists (8) and points (30). He is the reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year and was recently named to the 2013 Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy watch list along with 33 other candidates. Earlier this month, three ETSU players were listed on the Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team in Geno, junior defender Blaike Woodruff and senior midfielder Itode Fubara. In addition, Geno was named Preseason Player of the Year and Woodruff was recognized as Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. ETSU's inaugural season of varsity soccer was 2008, and the program has found early success, earning an Atlantic Sun Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament bid in 2010. In his sixth season, Scott Calabrese is the only head coach in the program's history. After earning a 3-0 victory in their first exhibition game of the season against King University, the Bucs suffered a 1-0 defeat at College of Charleston in their second preseason match.
Nine starters return for head coach Brad Noonan's fourth season with the Clemson Tigers. Last year, the Tigers posted a 6-9-6 overall record, finishing in fourth-place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 3-2-4 record. For the first time since 2005, Clemson advanced to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. In their first exhibition match of the season, Clemson defeated Wofford 3-0 at home on Aug. 22. Just three days later, the Tigers earned a 4-0 win over No. 13 Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C. Graduate student midfielder Thomas McNamara scored two goals against the Chanticleers while a pair of sophomores in forward Iain Smith and defender Kyle Fischer added one goal a piece in the preseason upset. Junior midfielder Ara Amirkhanian is the leading returning scorer for Clemson, tallying 12 points on five goals and two assists in 2012. The Tigers open the season against Mercer on Friday, Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
South Carolina Against Clemson
The Gamecocks have held the upper hand in the Palmetto State rivalry against the Tigers recently, winning five of the last six tilts. Over the stretch, South Carolina has allowed just two Clemson goals. The lone Gamecock defeat was a 2-0 decision at Riggs Field in 2011.
Up Next for the Gamecocks
The Gamecocks return to Stone Stadium on Sept. 6, for a home non-conference match against High Point. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. South Carolina then hits the road for three-straight contests at Coastal Carolina, St. John's and Rutgers.