The South Carolina men’s soccer team picked up a disappointing loss at home in Stone Stadium on Tuesday night. The Gamecocks strung together sequences of solid play throughout the match but failed to make the most of their goal-scoring opportunities.
The game started off in favor of the Gamecocks. The team put up five shots and had five corner kick opportunities in the first half, however, momentum shifted in the 36th minute. Presbyterian’s junior Mamadu Bah scored off a clean volley just inside the 18-yard-box to give the Blue Hose the lead.
Going into halftime down a goal, Gamecocks head coach Tony Annan tried to keep things positive.
“I was asking them for their feedback more than anything else,” Annan said postgame. “It wasn’t anything outrageous. It was just sort of let’s keep working at what we’re trying to do and try to get a goal.”
In the second half, South Carolina was able to capitalize on a set-piece. In the 49th minute, junior midfielder Parker League scored a header off a corner kick from sophomore forward Peter Clement. Unfortunately, it was not enough to keep the Gamecocks alive in the end. In the 78th minute, Bah struck again where he slotted away an opportunity off a turnover in the midfield.
Due to two red cards in the game prior, the Gamecocks had to make some adjustments to the starting eleven. Freshman midfielder Conner Bailey made his first collegiate start at center back and played a full 90 minutes. Alongside Bailey, sophomore midfielder Lorenzo Nagy started and provided a spark in the middle of the pitch.
Despite the tough loss, Annan recognizes that the team is still growing. “We are a team that is in transition,” Annan said. “Transition to a new coach, new style of play, new demand in training.”
Looking ahead, South Carolina looks to remain positive and prepare for its next matchup. “It’s just a work in progress,” Annan said. “I’m pleased with the guys, I’m pleased with what they’re doing, I’m pleased with their effort. We just got to get things right.”
The Gamecocks will return to Stone Stadium Saturday, Sept. 11 where they will face Coastal Carolina. This will be their first conference match-up of the season.