Gamecocks Get Second Straight Top Ten Win
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — South Carolina (5-2-1, 2-0 Conference USA) picked up its second-consecutive win over a top-10 team, downing No. 7 New Mexico (5-2-1, 0-1 C-USA) 2-1 in overtime on Friday night at Stone Stadium. Senior Jeffrey Torda made a late run down the left side and sent a shot from the corner of the 18 toward goal. New Mexico‘s goalkeeper got a hand on it but couldn‘t redirect it, as the ball slipped inside the far post for the game-winner in the 99th minute. The Gamecocks scored in the third minute of the match when senior Kevin Walker pushed his third goal of the season home from inside the six. Redshirt senior Asa Kryst started the chance with his pass to junior Koty Millard, who crossed it from the corner to Walker for the score. The lead held until the 86th minute when the Gamecocks were called for a foul in the box. Chris Wehan stepped to the spot and knocked in the tying goal, forcing the overtime period. Both teams had other chances, the best for South Carolina coming in the 34th minute, as Walker had a shot hit off the crossbar. Junior Danny Deakin stepped in and tried to put in the rebound, but his chance missed high. New Mexico had a one-on-one chance from inside the 18 in the 66th minute that South Carolina stopped. Game Changer: More efficiency in the Gamecock offense helped South Carolina have more good looks at goal. Key Stat: Torda‘s four shots on goal led all players. Notables: “¢ The consecutive wins over top-10 teams matches the 2000 squad, who downed No. 3 Virginia and No. 8 Maryland on Sept. 8 and 10, the only time since 1996 that the Gamecocks have played back-to-back top-10 foes. “¢ South Carolina held leads in shots (13-11) and shots on goal (6-3). “¢ The Gamecock defensive group again played every minute of the contest, goalkeeper William Pyle and defenders Ive Burnett, Peyton Ericson, Matt McManis and Koty Millard. “¢ Torda records his third game-winner of the year, tops on the team and tied for the most in Conference USA. Quotable: Head coach Mark Berson I was really proud of the guys. We fought really hard. We created some really good opportunities. Our defending has improved, obviously. We really challenged the guys, coming off of a couple of results earlier in the year, and they rose to the challenge. You can‘t be any more proud of a group as a coach than that. Another thing tonight, a lot of guys were able to contribute. We challenged them, when they came on, to not let the level go down, and they did that. Our attacking was very accurate and efficient tonight. We were very much improved defensively. New Mexico is a very good team. They got a couple of good opportunities on us, and they are going to do that. They are an excellent team and presented us with a lot of challenges. Tonight, the guys were up to the challenge. The biggest thing for me was the emotional, mental toughness of giving up a penalty in that situation, late in the game, and not folding. Coming back and finding a way to win, I‘m really proud of them for that. That kind of mental toughness and intensity is what you need to be successful. We showed that big time tonight. Up Next: The Gamecocks hit the road next week, playing at Marshall in another C-USA showdown on Fri., Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.