Men's soccer contest for Thursday night vs. No. 2 USF delayed due to weather. New start time is approximately 9:15 p.m. ET.
The South Carolina men's soccer team is set to travel to the USF Tournament this weekend, beginning with a Thursday matchup against the host Bulls. All matches will be played at Corbett Stadium on the campus at USF. The event will be very competitive, as USF enters weekend action ranked No. 2 in the most recent NSCAA Top 25 Poll, and Florida Gulf Coast, who the Gamecocks will face on Saturday, is the reigning Atlantic Sun Tournament Champion.
Below is the schedule for the Gamecocks, a video preview with Coach Berson, game notes and live stats and video information.
Schedule Date: Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012 at No. 2/5 USF Kickoff: 9:15 p.m. ET
Date: Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 vs. Florida Gulf Coast Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Carolina Quick Hits
- South Carolina is in its 35th season of varsity soccer in 2012.
- This weekend's tournament at USF marks the first road trip for the Gamecocks this season, as the squad has hosted all five matches to date, including two exhibition contests.
- In exhibition wins vs. Georgia State and Elon, South Carolina scored a combined eight goals, including two each from junior striker Bradlee Baladez, sophomore midfielder Braeden Troyer and junior midfielder J.P. Rafferty. Carolina posted 39 shots combined in the two matches, compared to just 23 shots by opponents (Ga. State 14; Elon 9).
- Competing in last weekend's Gamecock Classic, South Carolina suffered a 2-0 loss to No. 15 St. John's, before a 0-0 double-overtime draw with No. 25 Northwestern. The weekend was extremely hot in Columbia, especially on Sunday with temperatures soaring into the 90's.
- Baladez was selected to the Conference USA Preseason Team, the second-straight season the Mesquite, Texas, native has been honored with selection to the list.
- Baladez and Troyer were both named to the Preseason All Conference USA squad earlier this month published by College Sports Madness, while Baladez was tabbed a Third-Team Preseason All-American by CollegeSoccerNews.com.
- Carolina is receiving votes in the most recent NSCAA Top 25 Poll, which was released earlier this week on Tuesday.
South Carolina is set to play second-ranked, and host, USF in its first match of the USF Tournament on Thursday. The two teams have met six times previously, with that all-time series knotted at 3-3-0. The most recent meeting, a 2-0 win by the Bulls, came during the 2007 season at the UConn Adidas Classic. Prior to that meeting, South Carolina had won the previous three matches between the two schools dating back to a 5-1 victory in Columbia in 1993. The meeting between Carolina and Florida Gulf Coast will be the first between the two schools.
Martinez, Stam Named To Gamecock Classic All-Tournament Team
South Carolina defenders, and team co-captains, junior Eric Martinez and senior Kevin Stam put forth stellar play in two matches at the Gamecock Classic last weekend vs. No. 15 St. John's and No. 25 Northwestern. With hot and humid temperatures during both matches, the duo played all 90 minutes vs. the Red Storm and all 110 minutes against the Wildcats. The Gamecock defense earned its second shutout of the season against Northwestern.
Did You Know?
Reserve defender, freshman Jeffrey Torda's entire family has played a sport at the college level. His father was a golfer at LSU, his mother played basketball at St. Gregory's University, his brother played soccer at Dayton, and his sister played soccer at TCU. Torda is a native of Colleyville, Texas. One of three Texans on the South Carolina roster (Baladez, Hubbard).
A Look At South Carolina's Opponents At The USF Tournament
USF Bulls, 3-0-0 overall record
USF is ranked No. 2 this week in the NSCAA Top 25 Poll and CollegeSoccerNews.com Top 30 poll. It is the highest-ever ranking for the South Florida squad.
USF is undefeated entering Thursday's contest with South Carolina. The Bulls have victories over Michigan, then-No. 20 SMU and Tulsa this season.
Head coach George Kiefer is in his 11th season in Tampa. He's led the Bulls to the NCAA Tournament in each of the past five seasons.
The Bulls captured a share of last year's BIG EAST regular season crown, winning the Red Division. USF advanced to the Elight Eight in the NCAA Tournament. The seed for the Bulls in last year's tournament marked the highest-ever for the squad.
Top Drawer Soccer named junior defender Tom Sweat its National Player of the Week on Monday after scoring the game-winning tally vs. SMU last weekend. He also tallied the game winner vs. Michigan in the season opener.
Senior defender Ashani Fairclough was named a Preseason All-American by College Sports Madness and senior defender Brenton Griffiths was selected to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team by the league's head coaches.
Statistically for the Bulls, Sweat paces the club with two goals, while Leston Paul current has a team-leading two assists early in the 2012 campaign. Goalkeeper Eric Osswald has played all 270 minutes in net for USF, owning a stellar 0.67 goals against average with five saves on the year.
Florida Gulf Coast, 1-2-0 Overall Record
Florida Gulf Coast enters tournament action at USF with a 1-2-0 overall record after losses at then-No. 2 Akron and then-No. 16 Georgetown, and most recently a victory against Bucknell.
The Eagles are led by head coach Bob Butehorn, the reigning A-Sun Coach of the Year. He's in his sixth season with FGCU.
FGCU has 15 returners from last year's A-Sun Conference Tournament Championship squad, including 2011 A-Sun Freshman of the Year, Xavier Silva. The team was picked to finish second in the league in the 2012 Preseason Poll.
Silva, senior midfielder Deion Jones and sophomore defender Federico Crespo all earned preseason honors from the Atlantic Sun.
Statistically the Eagles are led by senior forward William Morse and sophomore midfielder Santiago Echeverri with one goal each. In net, goalkeeper Nathan Ingram has played all 285 minutes this season, owning a 1.89 goals against average, with 13 saves on the year.
35th Season Notable
Over the course of the past 34 seasons, South Carolina has had 11 individual All-Americans. That list started during the 1987 campaign when both Doug Allison (first team) and Marty Baltzeger (second team) were honored with All-American accolades. Allison, who lettered at Carolina from 1984-87, still ranks as the all-time points (158) and goals scored (63) leader in South Carolina history. He led the Gamecocks in scoring in each of his four years on the team, and led Carolina to the NCAA Tournament in 1985, 1986 and 1987. Baltezgar, a defender for the Gamecocks, also lettered from 1984-87. He scored 24 career points with six goals and 12 assists during his career, while he was also a key member of the previously mentioned NCAA Tournament teams.
Allison is currently the head coach at intrastate rival Furman, while Baltzegar works in the business community in Columbia.
Up Next For The Gamecocks
Following this weekend's matches at USF, South Carolina travels to 2011 national runner-up Charlotte on Sept. 12, before hosting intrastate rival Clemson on Sept. 18.