COLUMBIA, S.C. – In the non-conference home finale, South Carolina (4-4-2, 1-0-0 C-USA) defeated Presbyterian (2-6-0, 0-1-0 Big South) 3-0 with two goals from junior defender Mahamoudou Kaba. Freshman forward Eli Dent recorded his first career start and goal in the match as well.
“I was pleased with the first half. I thought we came out flying. We created a lot of opportunities. Our finishing maybe wasn’t quite as sharp,” South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said of the win. “In the second half, we weren’t quite as sharp, but sometimes that happens and we’ll just have to work to correct that. On Sunday, we will have to have 90 minutes against Tulsa.”
South Carolina outshot Presbyterian 23-11, putting 12 of their chances on frame. The Gamecocks had an 8-2 advantage in corner kick chances. Kaba scored his two goals on just two shots and now leads the team with four tallies. Sophomore midfielder Ryan Aranbula was able to put three of his four shots on goal. Freshman forward Cade Crow led Presbyterian offensively with three shots on the night.
Each team played two goalkeepers in the match. Gamecock freshman Marco Velez played nearly 70 minutes between the posts to earn the win. Redshirt junior Chris Duzan played the remaining time and collected two saves. Senior Tanner Osborne was saddled with the loss for Presbyterian, but recorded six saves in the effort. Sophomore Johnny Archer played 35 minutes for the Blue Hose, posting three saves.
Senior midfielder J.P. Rafferty recorded the first shot of the game in just the second minute with a near miss on a header after a restart from Arambula ricocheted off Kaba’s head. Rafferty’s shot went just over the crossbar.
The Gamecocks made good on an opportunity in the 21st minute when Arambula and Kaba were able to connect on the Gamecocks’ fourth corner kick of the night. Arambula put the ball into the six-yard box and Kaba was able to force it into the net through a pack of Presbyterian defenders for the 1-0 lead.
In the 32nd minute, Kaba added his second tally of the night. On another Arambula corner kick, Rafferty got off a close-range shot that was blocked. The ball found the head of Kaba and the defender calmly recorded the tally to put South Carolina up 2-0.
The first goal of Dent’s South Carolina career came just eight minutes later to put the Gamecocks up 3-0. With a defender on his hip, the freshman swung the ball around and the shot rolled into the net with the Presbyterian keeper out of goal.
The Gamecocks entered the locker room with a 3-0 lead, an 18-2 upperhand in shots and a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks.
In the second half, South Carolina used their bench. Working on their offense, the Gamecocks recorded five shots.
Dent along with sophomores Devin L’Amoreaux and Joey Hutchinson each posted a shot on goal late in the second half for South Carolina, but Archer was there to keep the Gamecocks off the scoreboard.
South Carolina hosts No. 23 Tulsa in the Conference USA home opener on Sunda