While the South Carolina men's soccer team had multiple opportunities to capitalize on Coastal Carolina’s mistakes and score, the Gamecocks found themselves unable to connect the right pass.
The Chanticleers' high momentum during the game resulted in a 2-0 loss for South Carolina at Stone Stadium on Saturday.
“We weren’t sharp”, said South Carolina head coach Mark Berson.
At the start of the game, both teams battled to keep the momentum on their desired half, but it shortly came to an end. South Carolina quickly started to force balls up the middle in an attempt to create an opportunity for a goal.
CCU took advantage, which led to midfielder Konstantious Louvaris scoring the first goal of the match.
“We just gotta figure out how to score,” midfielder Justin Sukow said. “We got a lot of crosses in, we connected a lot in the final third and we just couldn’t score.”
The Gamecocks remained scoreless throughout the rest of the game, but they did not give up, Sukow said. The Chanticleers were able to take advantage of an own goal by a South Carolina defender and extended their lead to 2-0 in the first half.
“I think we're playing better offensively together,” Sukow reflected. “We connected a lot more passes tonight. We had a lot more possession.”
Berson described both goals as “a little bit fortunate." He said that goal keeper William Pyle couldn't have done anything to prevent the own goal from happening.
The Gamecocks had a number of chances to alter the score, allowing them to get back in the game. Berson said he doesn't think the team was at its best Saturday because of CCU’s fight and gritty performance.
Despite the loss, South Carolina had something to celebrate; Berson was brought to the center of the field at the beginning of the game to be recognized for the 40th anniversary of the South Carolina program.
“I mean, tonight to see those players ... moved me to tears, it’s about to move me to tears right now,” Berson said. “All the guys in the administration and my coaches here and everyone. I had no idea, I had absolutely no earthly idea that was going to happen and it was really emotional.”
The Gamecocks plan to use the loss to prepare for their next game against Virginia Tech on Tuesday, and will work to clean up their mistakes.
“I think we just get ready to play. We just keep working hard in training and get ready to play on Tuesday night," Berson said. “Virginia Tech comes in, they are one of the top teams in the country, so it’s not going to get any easier for us and we just have to be ready to go.”