Freshman's First Goals gives Berson Win # 400

On a cool overcast night in Columbia, South Carolina the 6th ranked men's soccer team gave their beloved coach, Mark Berson, his 400th win in a 2-0 win over UAB. Below is the exclusive interview that took place after the game with Coach Berson and the star of the night for the Gamecocks, Freshman Cory Lewis.

USC's No 6 ranked men's soccer team extended the nation's longest winning streak to nine by beating Conference USA opponent UAB 2-0, but the big number for the night they were celebrating was Coach Mark Berson's 400th win as a head coach. USC's winningest coach in any sport, Berson is the only coach in USC soccer history.

"We just came out fired up for Coach Berson's 400th win," said freshman Cory Lewis, who scored both his first goals as a Gamecock in the first half, and they proved to be all USC needed, as Carolina's defense secured its fifth shutout of the season and goalkeeper Mike Gustavson made two saves.

"The win tonight was very important for us in the conference. UAB is one of the teams in the conference that will contend every year for the championship, so that was a very important victory for us," Berson said. "I thought we played well from wire-to-wire. We didn't let any opportunities open for them and they're very capable. It was very important to get the shutout; Cory has played very, very well this year. There is no way to force feed experience. That second goal was an absolutely brilliant strike."

Lewis came off the bench for South Carolina at the one minute mark and quickly made his own mark on the match, sticking his first goal less than a minute later. The Alpharetta Georgia native headed in a corner kick by teammate Jeff Scannella to give South Carolina a 1-0 lead. Scannella earned his fourth assist of the season.

"I was at the right place at the right time. (Jeff) Scannella knocked a great corner in the box and it hit me right on the head and I put it in," Lewis said.

The strike that Berson referenced was when the freshman ran down a mis-cleared ball on the left side of the field, and took it down the field and ripped a shot past Blazer goalkeeper Jeremy Drake into the lower left corner of the net.

South Carolina improved to 9-1-0 overall and 2-0-0 in Conference USA play. The 25th ranked Blazers fell to 5-4-1 and 1-1-0 in league action. Carolina improved to 4-1-0 all-time against UAB with tonight's win.

Berson, who is in his 29th season at South Carolina and 30th season of collegiate coaching, became just the fifth active coach to reach 400 wins and the 11th in Division I history. He is also the 21st coaching in NCAA history, regardless of division, to win 400 games.

"Something like that (winning his 400th career match) sort of evolves over time," Berson said. "I plan on coaching for awhile yet. Knowing the coaches (who have reached 400 wins) and that fraternity of people I know, it is a real honor. It's not often you get to be at one place for such a long time."

South Carolina out-shot UAB 22-10, including an 8-2 margin in shots on goal. The Gamecocks also attempted eight corner kicks and gave up just four to the Blazers. Drake was forced to make six saves in goal for UAB.

CSTV will broadcast the match on tape delay. The broadcast will first air on Sunday, Oct. 1, at 8:30 p.m. CSTV is available on Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter, Adelphia and Insight cable systems, among others, and is also available on DirecTV (channel 610) and DISH Network (Channel 152). On Time Warner cable in Columbia, CSTV is channel 150.

South Carolina's next game is on the road this Sunday against Kentucky for another Conference USA match. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.

Click the links below to listen to exclusive interviews after the game with Coach Berson and Cory Lewis.

Mark Berson Interview:

Cory Lewis Interview:

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