Gamecocks Upset No. 25 New Mexico in OT
Berson Gets 450th Win at Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. – With
freshman forward Eli Dent’s unassisted goal in the 92nd minute, South
Carolina (6-5-4, 3-1-2 C-USA) upset No. 25 New Mexico (8-4-2, 4-1-1
C-USA) to give head coach Mark Berson his 450th win at the helm of the
Berson is the fourth head coach in NCAA Division I
history to post 450 wins at one institution. During the 2011 season, he
collected his 450th career victory, becoming the eighth Division I
coach all-time to reach the 450-win milestone.
“I’m mostly just
really proud of our players. This is our seventh overtime game this
year, and the guys have really hung in there and battled all year
long,” Berson said of the milestone victory. “It’s critical because New
Mexico is nationally ranked and they are 11th in the RPI. It’s a big
win for us in the conference, on the national level and, most
importantly, for our guys. They deserve this. They hung in there and
battled and found a way to win.
“To be fair, I thought the first
half was even. The second half, we slipped a little bit. New Mexico
really took it to us in the second half. In the overtime, we found a
way, and that’s the most important thing”
Just over a minute
into the seventh overtime match of the Gamecocks’ season, junior
midfielder Hunter Wyer pushed a stolen ball over to Dent. Dent calmly
fired the game-winner from straight away near the top of the 18-yard
Seven South Carolina players registered a shot in the
match; Dent was the only one to notch multiple shots, putting both of
his opportunities on goal. Senior midfielder Michael Calderon led New
Mexico with five shots. Each team recorded just three shots on goal,
with the Lobos holding a 14-3 shot advantage.
Between the posts,
freshman Marco Velez hauled in three saves in the win for the
Gamecocks. Senior netminder Michael Lisch collected two saves for New
The defeat marks the first for New Mexico as a member of C-USA, their first season in the league.
19th minute marked a flurry of action on offense for the Gamecocks. On
a corner kick from the far side served in from sophomore midfielder
Jeffrey Torda, junior defender Braeden Troyer nearly found net on a
header, but Lisch swatted it from goal. Junior defender Mahamoudou Kaba
attempted to score on the rebound, but a Lobo defender blocked the shot.
the second quick rebound of the sequence, Torda shot from near the edge
of the 18-yard box, but another defender was there to deflect the ball.
South Carolina was awarded another corner kick on the play but couldn’t
create a chance on the second opportunity.
The teams ended the
half nearly even on the stat sheet. South Carolina held a 4-3 upperhand
in shots and a 2-1 advantage in corner kicks. Each keeper registered a
save in the first 45-minute period.
In the second half, New Mexico was the aggressor.
drawing a foul near the top of the 18-yard box in the 47th minute,
Calderon restarted play with a shot towards goal, but the line of
Gamecock defenders deflected the ball. The Lobos collected the rebound
and created another opportunity. Freshman forward Niko Hansen’s shot
from the near side ricocheted off the crossbar.
Minutes later, Calderon found the frame to be unkind again as a second shot bounced off the crossbar.
Mexico sophomore midfielder Ben McKendry fired a rocket towards Velez
and looked to have beaten the keeper, but the ball skipped to the near
post and deflected out of play to keep the game scoreless.
for the lead, sophomore midfielder Devin L’Amoreaux flicked a ball up
to Dent. Dent had beaten his defender, but couldn’t fool Lisch with his
shot as the keeper stayed home for the save.
Five minutes later, Hansen pushed a point-blank shot to Velez, but the Gamecock held his line to keep the match scoreless.
the second period, the Lobos outshot the Gamecocks 11-3 but put just
two on frame. Velez collected a save on both of the opportunities.
teams continued play into overtime after 90 minutes of scoreless
soccer. Dent’s goal just 1:04 into the extra period gave the Gamecocks