COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (7-6-5, 4-2-3 C-USA) suffered a 2-1 loss to Old Dominion (10-4-1, 7-2-0 C-USA) in its final regular season contest at Stone Stadium on Saturday night. After falling behind 2-0 in the first half, the Gamecocks cut into the lead on a goal from sophomore forward Jeffrey Torda in the 81st minute, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
“In the first half, their goalkeeper made three outstanding saves. We really had them on their back foot for some stretches, but they whipped us on a couple of set pieces. That’s going to happen sometimes,” South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said of the match. “You’ve got to credit Old Dominion; they are a very good team. In the second half our guys fought back, and I thought they did a very good job. We got one and it looked like we were going to get another one.”
Torda recorded just one shot in the match, but made it count. The forward has scored three goals in the last two games for South Carolina. Junior forward Asa Kryst was credited with the assist on Torda’s tally and put two of his four shots on goal.
Junior forward Ivan Militar picked up assists on both of ODU’s set piece tallies. Militar also put all three of his shots on frame. Senior forward Tim Hopkinson gave the Monarchs the early 1-0 lead and posted a game-high five shots on the night. Freshman midfielder Cole Stringer added the second goal for Old Dominion.
Between the posts for the Gamecocks, freshman Marco Velez collected five saves in the loss. Senior netminder Sean Stowe posted six saves in the win for Old Dominion.
The Monarchs outshot the Gamecocks 14-10 while South Carolina held a 7-4 edge in corner kicks.
The first half of the match was marked by quick-paced play as the teams tested each other.
Kryst recorded the first shot of the match in the 10th minute. The attempt was blocked, but the forward collected the rebound and quickly put a second attempt on frame. Stowe was there for his first save of the night, but couldn’t contain the ball. The Gamecocks were awarded their first corner kick of the night on the play.
Junior midfielder Stephen Anderson was on the other end of Turner’s corner kick from the near side, but Stowe got just enough of a hand on the header to deflect it over the cross bar. South Carolina earned another corner kick opportunity on the play, but could not create a shot.
On an indirect kick in the 16th minute, Militar found Hopkinson in the six-yard box. Hopkinson sent a header across the face of the goal and hit the back of the net just past an outstretched Velez for a 1-0 lead.
Freshman midfielder Koty Millard set up Kryst in the 34th minute on a counterattack, but Stowe was again able to get a hand on the ball to preserve the Monarch lead.
Old Dominion stretched their lead to 2-0 with less than five minutes remaining before the break. Militar earned his second assist of the night for setting up Stringer for a header on a corner kick.
With the Monarchs seemly content to sit on the 2-0 lead, junior defender Mahamoudou Kaba looked to cut the Monarch advantage in half 10 minutes into the second half. His header attempt went just wide of the goal.
The Gamecocks threatened to draw closer again, this time in the 62nd minute. Millard sent a rocket toward Stowe. The keeper saved the shot, but couldn’t contain it and sophomore midfielder Devin L’Amoreaux controlled the rebound. Stowe’s quick reflexes helped him make another save to preserve the shutout.
In the 81st minute, freshman midfielder Kurtis Turner drew a foul just outside the 18-yard box. On the direct kick, Kryst found Torda. Torda’s rocket slightly deflected off an Old Dominion defender and went past Stowe to make the score 2-1.
Desperately looking for the equalizer, the Gamecocks last chance came with just 53 seconds left in the match. Kryst’s long-range shot went wide of the goal and the Monarch’s hung on for the 2-1 win.
South Carolina begins play in the C-USA Tournament on Wednesday, November 13, in Charlotte, N.C. Stay tuned to GamecocksOnline.com for the latest information.