HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – In its sixth overtime game of the season, South Carolina (5-5-4, 2-1-2 C-USA) played to a 1-1 draw with Marshall (2-7-5, 0-2-2 C-USA) in Conference USA play at Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex on Saturday night. Senior midfielder J.P. Rafferty scored for the Gamecocks on a header in the 53rd minute. It is his third tally of the season. Freshman Kurtis Turner collected the assist, his fourth of the season.
“Tonight for the second-straight game, we battled back to get a goal that subsequently determined the outcome of the game after being scored upon,” South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said of the effort. “Our guys showed a lot of heart in coming back and earning a point on the road. I thought we carried a lot of the play and created a lot of good opportunities. I am tremendously proud of the effort and attitude the guys showed, particularly in the second half in coming back, scoring and leading the charge though overtime. It was good to see J.P. Rafferty get a goal tonight. I was very proud of how we battled again on the road.”
Seven of the Gamecocks’ 17 shots were on goal in the match. Rafferty led the team offensively, posting three shots, all on goal, including the second-half equalizer. Sophomore midfielder Jeffrey Torda had four shots in the match. South Carolina held a 9-3 advantage in corner kicks.
The Herd registered 16 shots in the match, but the South Carolina defense limited the team to just two shots on frame, both in the first half.
Freshman netminder Marco Velez collected one save in 110 minutes of play for the Gamecocks. Junior keeper Tyler Atwell posted six saves for Marshall.
Marshall pushed early, rushing out to a 5-0 shot advantage before the Gamecocks saw their first opportunity of the night on a corner kick nearly 10 minutes into play.
In the 14th minute, senior midfielder Jason Chapman registered a long-range shot. He put a ball on frame, but couldn’t get past Atwell.
On the second corner kick of the night, Anderson flicked a ball into the box and connected with Torda whose shot went wide right.
Junior midfielder Jahvon Allison put Marshall up 1-0 on a clean-up goal in the 34th minute. With a flurry of action around the goal, Allison was in the right position and took the ball a yard out from the goal and snuck it past Velez.
Just a minute later, Anderson looked to equalize, putting a long-range shot on goal, but Atwell was there to save again.
Anderson posted his second shot of the match in the 40th minute, he seemed to have caught Atwell out of possession, but the keeper was just able to deflect the shot. On the ensuing corner kick, the Gamecocks could not create a shot.
Senior midfielder Zach Hunter launched from the edge of the 18-yard box with under three minutes remaining before the break. The shot hit the post and Velez used his whole body to keep the ball from creeping past the goal line.
On a free kick just before the end of the half, Turner slid the ball over to a waiting Hunter Wyer. The junior midfielder quickly fired, but Marshall’s four-man wall was there to block the shot.
Yet again, South Carolina made adjustments at the break and came out as the aggressor.
Trying to level the match, Torda and Turner posted two quick shots early in the first four minutes of the second half. Turner’s was on goal, but Atwell was there to hold his line.
In the 53rd minute, South Carolina struck. On a free kick, Turner launched a cross into the box. Rafferty redirected the ball with his head and found the back of the net to tie the match at 1-1.
Late in the second half, both teams frantically searched for the game-winner. Both South Carolina and Marshall recorded two shots in the final 10 minutes of regulation, but none were on frame.
In the 89th minute, a cross to the near side set up Torda for a shot. The angular shot was on line, but sailed high.
Marshall got a header from sophomore defender Nick Edginton with 30 seconds remaining. The Gamecocks collected the ball and let the clock tick down, content to move on to overtime with the teams knotted at 1-1.
The Herd outshot the South Carolina 3-0 in the first overtime period, all on shots by sophomore midfielder Josh Hopkins. The first was from nearly 25-yards out. The strike was a rocket and went just past an outstretched Velez, but was wide of the net. Junior defender Mahamoudou Kaba blocked the second and just a minute later, he carried a ball high.
The Gamecocks did not allow a tally and continued on to the second overtime period.
In the first minute of the second extra period, South Carolina appeared to have the game won, but an offside call negated the play.
South Carolina registered a pair of headers from Rafferty off of two corner kicks from Turner with in a minute of each other. They were the only Gamecock shots of the overtime. The opportunities were on goal, but Atwell saved them both.
On Saturday, Oct. 26, the Gamecocks host (RV) New Mexico at Stone Stadium as they continue league play. The conference tilt is scheduled for 7 p.m., with live stats and video available via GamecocksOnline.com.