South Carolina (2-4-0) ended its three-game road trip with a 3-0 loss at Rutgers (3-2-1) at Yurcak Field on Sunday afternoon.
“This was an unusual game. Rutgers played better in the first half. In the second half, we came out and played very well,” South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said of the day. “We had a number of good opportunities, but we gave up the second goal. After that, Rutgers was able to take control of the match from there on out. I thought they played very well. Our challenge now is to regroup and get ready for a very good South Florida team on Friday night.”
The Scarlet Knights outshot the Gamecocks 15-12, putting seven of their shots on goal compared to five for the Gamecocks. South Carolina won the corner kick statistic six to five. Sophomore midfielder Ryan Arambula led the Gamecocks with four shots, putting two chances on goal. Sophomore midfielder Jeffrey Torda recorded two shots and was the only other Gamecock to register more than one shot.
Rutgers senior forward Kene Eze tallied a game-high five shots, scored a goal and recorded an assist. Sophomore midfielder Mael Corboz netted the game-winning goal in the 12th minute and added two assists for a four-point day.
In his second start in goal, South Carolina freshman Marco Velez collected three saves in the loss. Scarlet Knight freshman keeper David Greczek recorded the shutout win with four saves on the day.
Just 10 minutes in, junior defender Mahamoudou Kaba found himself in the six-yard box with the Rutgers goalie out of position, but he was unable to push it past him for an early lead. The shot did lead to a corner kick, but the Gamecocks were unable to create an opportunity.
Three minutes later, Corboz launched a shot from 22 yards out that deflected off a Gamecock. The deflection caught Velez out of position, and Rutgers took an early 1-0 lead in the 12th minute.
Eze tried to add to the lead in the 16th minute. Junior defender Braeden Troyer, who returned to the Gamecock lineup, blocked the Scarlet Knights’ shot. Freshman midfielder Erik Sa tried to curve a ball into the box for Eze just minutes later, but Troyer was there again, this time heading the ball out of play.
In the 24th minute, Eze looked to score on a breakaway, but Velez cut off the angle to stop the attack and collected a save.
Rutgers took a 1-0 lead into the break.
Early in the second half, South Carolina had a chance in the six-yard box, but Torda and a Rutgers defender got tangled and the Gamecock could not convert.
In the 48th minute, Rafferty sent a shot to the far post from about 22 yards out, but the angle on the ball was just wide. Trying to equalize, junior midfielder Stephen Anderson shot with his left foot in the 53rd minute, but the opportunity was blocked.
The Scarlet Knights doubled their lead in the 61st minute. On a through ball from Corboz, Eze had a one-on-one chance. Troyer appeared to have stopped the threat, but Eze stuck with the ball and was able to slip it just past Velez for the 2-0 advantage.
Six minutes later, the Scarlet Knights added an insurance goal. Corboz sent a corner kick into the box that Eze flicked over to sophomore midfielder Mitchell Taintor. Taintor’s header found the back of the net, making the score 3-0 in the 67th minute.
Trying to get back into the match two minutes later, Arambula sent a free kick towards a line of Rutgers defenders. The shot bounced back to Arambula who fired toward goal a second time, but the shot was blocked again.
The Gamecocks were unable to create a quality opportunity in the final minutes of the match and fell to the Scarlet Knights 3-0.
South Carolina returns to Stone Stadium for the annual Gamecock Classic on Friday, Sept. 20, as they play host to South Florida, Kentucky and Dartmouth. Games begin on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m.
Season tickets for men's soccer, which includes admission to all home games, are currently on sale in the Gamecock Ticket Office. Fans can purchase tickets online at GamecocksOnline.com, or by calling 1-800-4SC-FANS. Cost for season tickets for men's soccer is $25 for adults and $10 for youth (17 and under).