It took just one goal, but South Carolina avenged a regular season loss to the Mercer Bears with a 1-0 victory in Columbia on Thursday afternoon. The defeat ends the Bears’ season at 13-7-1.
The Bears picked up a stirring 3-2 road victory over the then #24 Gamecocks at Stone Stadium on August 30 despite blowing a 2-0 lead in the second half. In this contest, the Bears held a 9-5 shot advantage and forced Gamecocks keeper William Pyle to make four saves, but they weren’t able to get one past. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s Kevin Walker put up the match’s only tally (his fifth of the season) with 6:10 left to play in the first half. That was all the Gamecocks needed as Pyle was solid in net throughout the evening.
The NCAA Tournament appearance ended a 15-year wait for the Bears’ men’s soccer team and made them the only Division 1 team in Georgia to make it to the field of 48. While the school has been known for Cinderella moments in the past (including topping Duke in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament a couple of years ago), there was none of that magic in store for the soccer team this year.