After an early goal from sophomore midfielder Jeffrey Torda, South Carolina (2-4-1) and South Florida (1-1-3) drew even, and the teams battled to a 1-1 tie after 110 minutes of action in the Gamecock Classic on Friday evening at Stone Stadium.
“I think our guys did a great job. We created a number of good opportunities in the game; we just couldn’t quite get enough for the win. We went the distance, we played very well and I thought we played stronger and stronger in the overtimes. That’s something that is a real mark of character in this team, so I’m really proud of them,” said South Carolina head coach Mark Berson of the match.
The Gamecocks outshot the Bulls 15-9, including an 8-3 advantage in the second half. Senior midfielder J.P. Rafferty tallied a game-high four shots, while junior midfielder Hunter Wyer added three. Four other Gamecocks recorded two shots apiece. South Florida freshman midfielder Lindo Mfeka tallied two shots to lead his team’s efforts. No other Bull recorded more than on shot.
In his third career start, freshman Marco Velez collected four saves between the posts for South Carolina. For the Bulls, senior keeper Brentton Muhammad had six saves on the night.
South Carolina was quick to strike. Rafferty touched a ball over to Torda who curved a ball into the upper right 90 from 20 yards out to take a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute.
Fifteen minutes later, the Bulls leveled the score. Junior midfielder Wesley Charpie sent a ball into the six-yard box from the deep near corner. Junior forward Kennedy Adablah was able to head the ball past Velez to draw the score even at 1-1.
Towards the end of the first half, the Gamecocks found their first corner kick opportunity and nearly converted. Sophomore midfielder Ryan Arambula was able to connect with junior defender Mahamoudou Kaba, but Kaba’s header to the near post was off target.
South Carolina and South Florida went to the locker room with a 1-1 score and with four shots apiece.
In the 50th minute, a streaking Rafferty sent a shot towards goal sending Muhammad to his left for a diving save to keep the game tied.
Mfeka got loose on a run for the Bulls, but junior defender Braeden Troyer made a stellar sliding save in the 72nd minute to stop the effort.
After 90 minutes of play, the Gamecocks and Bulls were tied at 1-1. South Carolina nearly doubled the Bulls shots attempts, holding a 12-7 upperhand.
In the first overtime period, junior forward Edwin Moalosi nearly gave USF the victory when he found himself heading for the goal. Velez was there to hold his line, keeping the Gamecocks alive with a one-on-one save.
Unable to notch a scoring opportunity in the first 10 minutes of extra time, the Gamecocks found three chances in the second period on two headers from Wyer and a solid look from junior midfielder Stephen Anderson, but the Gamecocks were unable to connect and ended the game in a 1-1 draw.
The Gamecocks will face Dartmouth, who captured a 3-1 victory over Kentucky earlier in the day, on Sunday in the final game of the Gamecocks Classic at approximately 1:30 p.m. Kentucky will play South Florida in Sunday’s first match at 11 a.m.