South Carolina men's soccer head coach Mark Berson's team has faced a variety of ranked and unranked competition this season, but has struggled to execute in games across the board.
The hard losses are something that Berson has had to face head on this season.
“It's been a tough go,” Berson said. “We have a lot of very, very close games and ... we've dropped a lot of those games.”
For the Gamecocks, Berson says that despite dropping close matchups, each game is different.
South Carolina was able to beat a nationally ranked team in overtime on the road, but has also faced some surprising defeats at home. No matter who the opponent is, the challenge is still there.
Berson believes that if his team can keep working on the basics, then the changes will come to finish out games and secure the victory.
"I think that's the difference in a match between two good teams," Berson said. "A lot of times what happens that two teams play each other to a stalemate and then somebody makes a play ... whether it's the NFL, whether it's the NBA or whether it's college soccer.”
And he was right.
South Carolina was on the losing end of an upset against No. 2 Wake Forest last Tuesday, but the team was able to find its strength as a unit to defeat USC Upstate Saturday.
The Gamecocks found their strength in executing in the net from sophomore defender Mitchell Myers and junior forward Luca Mayr. Myers was able to create a 1v1 opportunity with Missouri's keeper after making his way through their defense.
Berson's team found their opportunity in a defensive player. Scoring is something that the defense usually doesn't have the chance to capitalize on, but South Carolina's defense took its chance.
On the attacking end, Mayr now leads the Gamecocks with nine goals this season and scored off a header. South Carolina was able to find those opportune moments that helped the team to execute on USC Upstate's attacking third.
The Gamecocks were able to get themselves off their two game losing streak after this win, but still have much to prove.
“Mitchell Myers was outstanding — did a great job on the first goal,” Berson said. “I think as a team, overall, we showed good balance in the attack and defensively.”
The Gamecocks from start to finish executed and capitalized on mistakes that secured their success, which is something that they have attempted to achieve this season but have not always been able to do.
Berson said just how important this win against USC Upstate was in order to build momentum going forward in the season.
Keeping each ball on frame and trying to get a goal in the net is key for the Gamecocks in their attacking game. Defensively South Carolina will look to continue to maintain a tight defense in hopes to create shutout opportunities for the rest of the season.
“These are all big games. I mean obviously the conference games are absolutely critical as we head into the end of the week," Berson said. "We have Georgia State coming in on Tuesday night, a very, very good team. It’s great to be at home and we want to put together a little bit of stretch here if we can do that."