Gamecocks Defeat No. 10 UAB in Comeback Thriller
BIRMIGHAM, Ala. - With
goals from sophomore midfielder Jeffrey Torda and junior forward Asa
Kryst in the 85th minute, South Carolina (7-5-5, 4-1-3 C-USA) upset No.
10 UAB (11-4-1, 4-3-1 C-USA) 4-3 in a back-and-forth thriller at West
Campus Field. Freshman forward Eli Dent also scored in the match for
the Gamecocks. The win propels South Carolina past the Blazers in the
Conference USA standings. South Carolina is now in third place with 15
UAB looked to be on its way to victory after a goal from
senior midfielder Moses Adeniran with less than seven minutes
remaining. Sophomore defender Ian Svantesson was credited with the
assist on the goal that gave the Blazers a 3-2 lead.
It took the
Gamecocks less than two minutes to pull even for the second time in the
match. Junior midfielder Stephen Anderson sent a ball towards Torda.
The midfielder contained the ball and sent it to the lower left corner
of the goal to tie the match at 3-3.
Just 44 seconds later,
Kryst found himself on the other end of a cross from freshman defender
Koty Millard. Kryst deftly netted what would be the game-winner with
just 5:03 on the clock.
“To beat the number 10 team in the
country on the road is a good accomplishment. We had to come from
behind twice to secure the win, which really speaks to the
determination and fighting power of this team,” South Carolina head
coach Mark Berson said of the victory. “We’ve played a tough schedule.
These guys are battle-hardened, and they showed it this afternoon. It’s
also a very important win in the conference.”
With the Gamecocks
aggressively looking for offense in the first half, Torda collected a
loose ball in the six-yard box and pushed it past freshman keeper Joe
Kuzminsky for his third goal of the season. The tally gave South
Carolina an early 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.
In the 26th
minute, the Blazers equalized. Sophomore forward Freddy Ruiz took the
ball to the endline and found senior midfielder Norris Howze near the
top of the six-yard box. Howze fired a low ball through traffic for
UAB’s first shot of the match. The ball found the net towards the near
post, tying the score at 1-1.
With the clock ticking down before
halftime, UAB was awarded a corner kick. Initially, the Blazers could
not make anything happen, but after the ball dangerously bounced
around, sophomore forward Karl Chester sent a header towards freshman
Marco Velez. The Gamecock keeper saved the shot back into play and
right back to Chester. The forward quickly fired once again, but Velez
made a second save to keep the match tied 1-1 at the break.
took UAB just 10 minutes in the second half to take its first lead of
the match. Senior midfielder Patrick Huang sailed a long free kick into
the box. Junior defender Darion Copeland was on the other end, placing
a header into the back of the net for a 2-1 score.
Set-up by a
long ball from senior midfielder J.P. Rafferty, Dent leveled the score
at 2-2 on a well-placed strike to the keeper’s right in the 61st minute.
Blazers nearly retook the lead less than five minutes later. Ruiz was
by himself and Velez came off his line to defend. The forward sent a
rocket past Velez, but the ball clanked off the post and out of play.
The Blazers made the next move, retaking the lead on Adeniran’s goal in the 83rd minute.
Carolina equalized with Torda’s second goal of the day and took the 4-3
lead on Kryst’s tally, but UAB would not go away quietly.
Senior midfielder Chase Wickham had an attempt blocked by a Gamecock defender in the 87th minute.
trying to send the match into overtime, UAB secured back-to-back
corners in the 89th minute. Adeniran was able to get a shot off after
the second opportunity, but Velez held his line to preserve the lead.
just 12 seconds on the clock, Howze gave the Gamecocks a scare with a
rocket that flew straight to the goal. The ball hit the crossbar and
sailed out of play, securing South Carolina the 4-3 victory.
of the Gamecocks’ 21 shots were on frame and the defense limited UAB to
15 shots, with six on frame. UAB won the corner kick statistic 9-3.
collected three saves in the win over the top-ranked offense in the
country. For the Blazers, Kuzminsky had seven saves on the day.