Gamecocks men’s soccer travel to UAB for regular season finale

BY: TYRIA GOINES

BIRMINGHAM, AL — South Carolina (5-8-2) hits the road today to face UAB (5-6-4) on Friday night at BBVA Compass Field. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. ET in Birmingham with a live stream available on CUSAtv.

The winner of the match will punch its ticket to the 2017 C-USA Tournament next week in Norfolk, Va. The Gamecocks have a one-point edge in the standings for the No. 7 seed currently over the Blazers. Carolina will also advance to the conference tournament with a draw and an FAU loss. The Owls play Marshall on Saturday night at home.

Head coach Mark Berson is seeking his 500th career win as he currently sits at 499 career victories. A win Friday evening will make him just the fourth coach in NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer history to hit 500 victories.

“It’s a big game. To be honest, it’s good to be in this position to have our destiny in our own hands. UAB is a real good team. Every year they’re one of the really good teams in the league. This will be a tough match and it’s at their place, so we’ll need to be playing at our very best.” — head coach Mark Berson

The Blazers have had an up-and-down season with some tough results losing four of their six matches by one goal. In its last outing, UAB lost a heartbreaker on the road in conference play at Marshall as Adi Dakwar scored the game-winner with 17 seconds left in the second overtime to give the Thundering Herd a 2-1 victory.

Much is on the line Friday night, as the two teams will be gunning for a spot in the C-USA Tournament next week. Massimo Ferrin leads the team in points in 2017 with 11 thanks to a team-high five goals. The Blazers attack has some balance as 11 different players have scored goals. A different player has scored the game-winner in all five of the team’s victories. Ferrin is the only player on the roster with double-digit points. Rami Dajani and Donovan Watson are tied for the team lead with two assists. Goalkeeper James Teal has started every match for UAB, notching 65 saves (.783 save percentage), allowing 18 goals (1.14 GAA) and posting four shutouts, one of which came in conference play in the team’s 2-0 shutout over FAU (Oct. 21).

With a win Friday night, the Gamecocks will be heading to Norfolk, Va. for the C-USA Tournament as the No. 7 seed. Carolina will face the No. 2 seed – Old Dominion, Kentucky or New Mexico – in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Nov. 8. at the ODU Soccer Complex.

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