In the first game of the season with new head coach Tony Annan, the Gamecock men's soccer team fell to College of Charleston after a poor defensive display on the field. The Cougars took the victory with a final score of 1-0 in Stone Stadium.
It was an exciting first half of the match with energy high between both teams. Gamecock junior midfielder Parker League was the first among several players on the field to receive a yellow card during the rowdy match. Following League's penalty, Charleston's junior midfielder Alden Ray earned a yellow card, which was followed by Gamecock sophomore defender Sekou Soumah, both in the second half of play.
During the second half, the Gamecocks started taking more shots on goal that were matched with more saves by the Cougar goalkeepers, forcing the match to progress into overtime.
In overtime, the Cougars scored their winning goal and concluded the match in the 100th minute of play.
South Carolina freshman goalkeeper Tristan Himes made his debut saving four shots from the Cougars throughout the game. College of Charleston managed to collect a total of five saves to shut out South Carolina. The Gamecocks had a total of 11 shots, while Charleston took a total of nine.
Two forward players were tied for most shots for the Gamecocks. Freshman Harrison Myring and junior Logan Frost both made three shot attempts on the Cougar goalkeepers.
"We didn't challenge for the ball up the field. We got bullied," Annan said. "They wanted to score more than we wanted to defend ... But, this is football."
Although Annan's debut game with the Gamecocks ended in a loss, he said that coming off the field, he told the players he was proud of them.
"They work very hard," Annan said. "We had never gotten into a long ball match, which is what I think they wanted us to do because that's all they were doing, but we refused to get into that. We played our football, we played very well."
Annan approached his new position as head coach by acknowledging that this is not his team, but the program's, and that he will have to teach this team rapidly.
"These are not guys I brought in, and they didn't use to play my style of play," Annan said. "So, they've got to learn fast, and they've got to learn on the run."
Annan has recognized even in just this first game that the players have improved in areas he has been working on with them, which is proving to be encouraging even after a loss.
"I'm starting to see bits and pieces of what we're working on in the past 10 days come to light, so I'm excited about where we're going with it," Annan said.