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Gamecocks Drop Thrilling NCAA Tournament Match to Wake Forest on Penalty Kicks


COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The 23rd-ranked South Carolina men's soccer team and Wake Forest played to a 1-1 tie through two overtimes before the Demon Deacons claimed the thrilling match, 4-3, on penalty kicks on Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Stone Stadium.

With the victory, Wake Forest (8-7-5) advances to the second round to face 14th-seeded James Madison. The Gamecocks' (9-7-3) season comes to an end with the loss.

Wake Forest's Teddy Mullin made the eventual match-winning penalty kick after the teams were deadlocked at 3-3 after going through five kicks each. South Carolina sophomore J.P. Rafferty missed the ensuing attempt off the right post, sending the Demon Deacons onto the field in celebration.

However, the referee ruled Wake Forest goalkeeper Michael Lisch left early, giving Rafferty another opportunity. But this time Lisch made up for his mistake by knocking Rafferty's attempt over the net to seal the win.

It was South Carolina keeper Alex Long coming up with the big save early in the match, as Wake Forest's Andy Lubahn fired a shot from 10 yards out that Long knocked away in the fifth minute to keep things scoreless.

But Wake Forest grabbed a 1-nil lead in the 10th minute, as Ross Tomaselli finished off a cross from Sean Okoli off the lower left post.

The Gamecocks missed on a scoring opportunity late in the first half. Rafferty fired a shot in the 41st minute from the top of the box, but Lisch made a diving save to preserve the 1-0 lead heading into the locker room.

Carolina knotted things at 1-1 in the 50th minute on a penalty kick by sophomore Chipper Root, as he placed the ball in the lower right corner for the equalizer.

Lubahn split the Gamecock defense and missed off the cross bar in the 82nd minute.

Bradlee Baladez seemed to give the Gamecocks the lead with less than seven minutes remaining as he broke free in the box for a goal, but South Carolina was called for a foul, negating the goal and sending the match into overtime.

The teams traded shots in the overtime sessions to force the match into penalty kicks, where Wake Forest advanced.

South Carolina held a 17-16 advantage in shots, including a 7-6 edge in shots on goal. Long finished the night with five saves, while Lisch tallied six for Wake Forest.

Penalty Kick Order
20 Danny Wenzel - made
11 Luca Gimenez - made
21 Ben Newnam - missed
29 Sean Randolph - made
12 Kovi Konowiecki - missed
10 Teddy Mullin - made

7 Eric Martinez - made
10 Bradlee Baladez - made
5 Stephen Morrissey - missed
13 Braeden Troyer - made
4 Mike Mangotic - missed
23 J.P. Rafferty - missed



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