Gamecocks men’s soccer face ODU in C-USA quarterfinals

BY: TYRIA GOINES

NORFOLK, V.A. — No. 7 seed South Carolina men’s soccer (6-8-2, 2-4-2 C-USA) faces second-seeded Old Dominion (9-5-2, 6-2-0 C-USA) on Wednesday evening in the 2017 Conference USA Tournament Quarterfinals. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. and the match will be streamed for free through CUSAtv.

Both teams will be familiar with each other as they met in Columbia late in the season on Oct. 29. The Gamecocks trailed 2-0 midway through the first half and scored three unanswered goals en route to a 3-2 Senior Day victory over the Monarchs.

Carolina is making its 11th appearance in the C-USA Tournament since joining the league in 2005. The Gamecocks have two tournament titles (2005 and 2010) in three title game appearances while posting an 8-7-1 record. Carolina has been the No. 7 seed just one other time in its 10 previous appearances. That was in 2014 and was the last time the tournament was in Norfolk. The Gamecocks advanced all the way to the C-USA title game before falling to ODU 2-1 in the final.

These two programs met last year in the 2016 C-USA Tournament Quarterfinals with their roles reversed as Carolina was seeded second and the Monarchs were seeded seventh. ODU upset the Gamecocks 2-1 after scoring twice early in the second half.

“The mindset going into this match is the same as it was going into UAB. If we don’t win that match on Friday night, we’re not going to the conference tournament. If we don’t win this next one on Wednesday, we’re not going to advance and our season is over. That’s the approach that we had to take and have taken. I think it’s good for us that we had that do or die scenario at UAB because we’ve been through that now, and we’re going to face that again on Wednesday against the home team, Old Dominion, which is the host school. ” — head coach Mark Berson

The Monarchs finished second in the league this year with a 6-2-0 record in conference matches. They’ve been tough at home, posting a 7-2-2 record. ODU is fresh off a 1-0 shutout of New Mexico in the regular season finale last Friday (Nov. 3). Brandon Perdue leads the team in points with 16 (6G, 4A). Max Wilsschrey is tied with Perdue for the team lead with six goals. Their attack is balanced with three more players scoring three or more goals: Sebastien Hauret (5), Niko Klosterhalfen (4) and Tyler Edwards (3). Mertcan Akar has started every match in goal logging 71 saves (.747) while allowing 24 goals (1.45 GAA) and posting six shutouts. Akar earned First Team All-C-USA honors and the league’s Golden Glove Award.

The winner of Wednesday evening’s quarterfinal matchup between South Carolina and Old Dominion faces the winner of No. 3 seed Kentucky and No. 6 seed Marshall in the C-USA Tournament Semifinals on Friday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. The match will be streamed for free on CUSAtv.

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