Gamecock Men's Soccer Earns 2-1 Victory Over UCF
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The
South Carolina men's soccer team (4-5-2, 1-2-1 C-USA) earned a 2-1
victory over visiting UCF (4-4-2, 1-1-0 C-USA) in Conference USA action
at Stone Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Redshirt-sophomore midfielder
Hunter Wyer and freshman midfielder Ryan Arambula both scored the first
goal of their career for Carolina in the victory.
"A conference win is very key," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson
said. "I give our guys credit. They have fought really hard this year
and we've had some difficult results that didn't go our way, even
though we played well enough to maybe end up on the other side of them.
I thought the mental toughness of our guys today really showed through.
"I thought we created a lot of really good chances. Once again, we
didn't wilt when we missed on chances. That mental toughness was the
key to this game. When UCF scored, we were resilient and tough enough
to get the win. That's what we need every game from here on out."
The Gamecocks held a 16-15 advantage in overall shots, including a 9-5
upperhand in shots on goal. Junior striker Bradlee Baladez had four
shots on goal to pace the squad, while Wyer and Arambula were credited
with goals, and freshman midfielder Jeffrey Torda and sophomore forward
Snoopy Davidson with assists. Netminder Alex Long collected four saves
in goal, including three in the second half.
The Knights were led by Deshorn Brown with two shots on frame, while
Andrew Quintana tallied the UCF goal. Goalkeeper Sebastian Evers
collected a game high six saves in frame.
Baladez had Carolina's first of four attempts on frame in the first
half just over five minutes into the match, a header, which Evers
tipped past the post for a Gamecock corner. UCF cleared the ensuing
opportunity to keep the contest scoreless early.
Brown looked to give UCF an advantage in the 12th minute, hitting a
one-time volley towards frame, but the attempt was past the left goal
Both goalkeepers were tested midway through the half. Evers collected a
save on a header attempt from defender Eric Martinez, and Long was
challenged at the opposite end from Brown seconds later, but neither
team was able to mark the scoreboard.
Following a round of substitutions, Wyer would give the Gamecocks a
first-half advantage. He collected a ball near midfield and sent it
towards the left flank into the path of Torda, who hit a one-time cross
within the UCF six-yard box that Wyer headed to the far post for a 1-0
Carolina upperhand in the 40th minute.
The score held through the half, and the Gamecocks continued to put
pressure on the Knights' defense. It wouldn't take long for Carolina to
extend its lead. Building an attack out of the midfield in the 59th
minute, Baladez had an attempt on goal that hit the post for a rebound,
which Davidson hit towards goal, but the shot was saved off the goal
line by a UCF defender. In perfect position at the top of the six-yard
box, Arambula sent the deflected shot into the back of the net for the
eventual game winner, giving the Gamecocks a 2-0 advantage midway
through the second half.
UCF responded just over three minutes later, pulling back within one
goal on an unassisted tally from Quintana. The Knights defender sent a
strike into the upper left corner of frame from 25 yards out to near
the score at 2-1.
Both teams had their chances the remainder of the half. UCF would
nearly tie the contest on a shot from Brown in the 78th minute, but the
Gamecock defense would play solid the remainder of the way, and
Carolina held advantage late in the contest to close the conference