COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (4-3-0, 0-2-0 C-USA) handed No. 13 Furman (6-1-0, 0-0-0 SoCon) its first loss of the season on Tuesday night in front of 3,049 fans at Stone Stadium. Sophomore striker Luca Mayr netted the game-winner in the 50th minute after a gorgeous through ball from senior Christoffer Wallander Ianev.
The Gamecocks dominated the first 45 minutes controlling possession with effective passing all across the field. The home team was aggressive right out of the shoot as Andre Streete fired a shot on goal off a set piece in the 11th minute of the match. Carolina had another great chance two minutes later on a through ball from Mayr to Petter Soleberg. The freshman midfielder would have been in 1on 1 with goalkeeper Ben Hale, but a Paladin defender got a brief touch on the pass to set it off its course.
The teams went to the break knotted at 0-0, each finishing with two shots a piece in the first half. The opening 45 minutes were extremely physical, as there was a combined 18 fouls – 10 on Furman and eight on Carolina.
Much like the opening minutes of the match, the Gamecocks were on the attack to start the second half as Mayr ripped a shot from 30-yards out just missing the cross bar. Carolina got out in transition moments later on a counter attack as Wallander Ianev was alone in front of the home team’s bench. He played a low, bending cross on target right in front of the goal. Mayr came flying in full-speed down the middle of the field to boot home the eventual game-winner with ease on the perfect pass from his teammate.
In the 60th minute, the Gamecocks had another great transition opportunity when Wallander Ianev lofted a high arching cross from the near sideline to freshman Justin Sukow. The Paladins were quick to clear the threat before Sukow could get a handle on the pass.
Goalkeeper William Pyle was big again down the stretch in crunch time, tallying his only two saves of the game in the final 10 minutes. Junior Trygve Ellingstad intercepted a pass late and had a 1v1 opportunity with Hale playing way up, but he made the smart play and dribbled to the corner as the clock expired.
"It’s a big win over an undefeated opponent, and it’s a turnaround game for us. We fought really hard these last couple of games and hadn’t gotten a result, so I think it speaks to the character of these guys. They’ve never doubted themselves and they’ve never stopped working – and that’s what it’s going to be for us. All these games on our schedule are all really tough matches, and we’re going to have to have the same resolve and the same effort we gave tonight. I’m really proud of these guys and they did a great job." — South Carolina men's soccer head coach Mark Berson
The Gamecocks’ backline of Christoffer Wallander Ianev, Aleksander Bjerke Christensson, Matt Morgan and Andre Streete played all 90 minutes of the match and made big plays all night long. They were crucial in clearing Furman’s five corner kicks.
South Carolina’s defense didn’t allow a shot on goal until the 81st minute of the match.