South Carolina men's soccer's Christian Kraus scored at the 75-minute mark while Nick Brady shined between the posts with five saves, four of which came in the second half, as the Gamecocks defeated Mercer 1-0 Friday night. With the win, head coach Mark Berson is now tied for the third-most all-time wins in NCAA men's soccer history.
The winning result snapped a two-match losing streak in 2020 and a six-match losing streak in road matches for South Carolina (2-2, 0-0 C-USA). Carolina now leads the all-time series between the two schools 12-1-0.
Mercer (1-3, 0-0 Southern) kept things close through the first 45-minutes of work as Carolina held a 5-4 advantage on shots through the first period and a 5-1 lead in corners. Both teams battled to a 0-0 score at halftime.
South Carolina came out quick in the second half as Brian Banahan nearly scored at the 56-minute mark as the ball went just a little too far on its way to finding the post to keep the score at 0-0.
Then at the 75th minute, Kraus' goal off the Andrew Halloran and Spencer Mallion assist put the Gamecocks on top, 1-0, with 15 minutes left in the match. The goal was Kraus' first at Carolina.
"It was special to me because I've had a few chances in previous games to score." Kraus said. "I knew a goal was coming, it was just a matter of when. I'm also glad to get on the score sheet and be a part of a big win!"
Brady (1-0) held his own as three Mercer shots down the stretch couldn't find their mark as Carolina posted its second shutout in four matches.
"It felt really good to get a clean sheet tonight knowing how big this game was for us moving forward into our last game of the fall next weekend and the upcoming spring season," Brady said. "It was a complete team effort from front to back and I'm proud of how everyone responded after the last two games. Also a huge congrats to Christian on getting his first goal of his young career."
18 different Gamecocks saw action in Macon on Friday night.
Mercer closed the match with a 13-9 advantage in shots and 8-7 lead in corners. The Gamecocks posted five shots on goal.
Prior to the match, Mercer presented Berson with a check to make a donation to the Ovarian Cancer Society. South Carolina men's soccer wears teal for every September match to help raise awareness for Ovarian Cancer.
The Gamecocks take a week off before returning to the pitch on Oct. 24 to close out the 2020 fall season against UAB at 7:00 PM ET from Stone Stadium. Although the two are C-USA foes, the match will count as a non-conference game. Fans can follow along with live stats and a free live stream on gamecocksonline.com.
For more information on South Carolina men's soccer, continue to check back with gamecocksonline.com.
Christian Kraus, SC (75')
Andrew Halloran, SC (75')
Spencer Mallion, SC (75')
Brian Banahan, SC (82') - Yellow