Deakin and Walker Power Gamecocks to 2-1 win over UCF
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — The South Carolina men’s soccer team (1-2-0) netted its first win of the season, 2-1, over former C-USA rival UCF (0-2-0) on Sunday at Stone Stadium. Seniors Danny Deakin and Kevin Walker paved the way to victory with their first goals of the season in the 62nd and 65th minute, respectively.
The Gamecocks and Knights had several solid scoring opportunities in the first half, but neither was able to capitalize. Each team netted four shots, three of which were shots on goal by UCF.
Goalkeeper William Pyle, who made his first start and saw his first game action of the season today, was strong in the net, recording three saves in the first half and four total for the match.
The Knights best chance to score in the opening period came when forward Matias Pyysalo was able to break loose from the Carolina defense. His shot was off mark though and missed wide left.
The Gamecock offense came out firing on all cylinders in the second half. Freshman Luca Mayr started the offensive attack for Carolina as he fired a shot wide in the 61st minute. Deakin, a preseason All-America candidate, then took aim in the 62nd minute, but his shot was blocked.
Deakin got a chance to redeem himself 15 seconds later when senior Kurtis Turner slotted a perfect backdoor pass to him that he put in the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
Carolina wasted little time extending its 1-0 lead with senior Kevin Walker heading in a perfect cross from just outside the top of the box by senior Ive Burnett in the 65th minute.
UCF got on the board in the 76th minute when Pyysalo put a free kick in the back of the net after a South Carolina foul inside the box.
The Knights unloaded an offensive flurry late that included several shots, one on goal that was saved by Pyle, but ultimately the Gamecocks were able to hold on for the win.
Head Coach Mark Berson on importance of the win: “I think it was important because we’ve played really well in stretches in these first two games and have nothing to show for it. Today I thought we executed really well in the attack. I was really proud of the things we’ve worked on to sharpen things up. I think we executed well.”
South Carolina had a five-minute span with five shots in the second half (60′-65′) that resulted in two goals, one by Deakin and one by Walker.
Pyle netted four key saves to propel the Gamecocks to victory.
- Danny Deakin netted his first score of the season while Kevin Walker found the back of the goal for the second time this year.
- Ive Burnett and Kurtis Turner each tallied their first assist of the season.
The Gamecocks hit the road for an instate matchup with Costal Carolina in Conway, S.C. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at CCU Soccer Stadium next Friday night.