Gamecocks shutout Clemson 2-0 to open season
The sophomore duo of Sam Arthur and Blake Brettschneider each collected one goal and one assist in the match, while goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer tallied three saves in net to secure the shutout for Carolina. The victory marks South Carolina's second-consecutive win over the Tigers, marking the first back-to-back Gamecock wins over Clemson since the 1994-1995 campaigns.
"Allowing just three shots against Clemson is a good compliment to our guys," South Carolina head coach Mark Berson said. "Our team has worked very hard and they really believe in our system. I thought we played solid and very well defensively. We got some really good chances on the offensive end tonight. Clemson is a good team, it's a rivalry game and I was really proud of the overall performance tonight."
The match was extremely physical with the squads combining for 41 fouls, as Carolina committed 22 against 19 by the Tigers. South Carolina out-shot Clemson 9-3, as Arthur and sophomore forward Mike Lindsay led the Gamecocks with two shots, while Brettschneider and junior midfielder Jeff Scannella contributed one shot in the match. Arthur and Brettschneider tallied Carolina's points on the night, as each collected one goal and one assist in the victory.
Maurer played a stellar match in goal. The sophomore netminder tallied three saves on three shots, leading the defense to its first shutout of the 2008 campaign. Tiger counterpart Joseph Bendik recorded three saves in net.
After trading possessions early in the first half, a well-cleared ball out of the Gamecock defensive third gave Carolina its first tally of the night. At the right midfield position, Brettschneider was able to split two Clemson defenders, crossing the ball to Arthur who chipped the goalkeeper from six yards out to give Carolina a 1-0 advantage at the 27-minute mark of the first half.
Both teams finished the half playing solid defense to hold the lead heading into the halftime intermission. Carolina's first true threat of the second half came with 22 minutes remaining. Sophomore defender Will Traynor connected on a Gamecock free kick just outside the 18-yard box, but the ball sailed just over the crossbar to keep the lead at 1-0.
With just under eight minutes remaining in the contest, Arthur battled for a ball in the Clemson defensive third and connected with Brettschneider on a drop-pass at the 20-yard mark. Brettschneider took two kick steps towards the goal and sent a ball past a diving Bendik into the far-side netting for the deciding 2-0 Gamecock advantage. Maurer played solid defense in the final five minutes of the set, collecting two point-blank saves to secure the South Carolina season-opening victory.
"Our team played really well tonight," Brettschneider said. "This was a huge win for us over Clemson in our season opener. Playing as well as we did tonight is a good sign and hopefully it will continue through the season."
South Carolina continues non-conference play when it hosts Presbyterian College on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.
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