COLUMBIA, S.C. – In its final tune-up before its regular-season opener next weekend, the Elon men’s soccer team fell 2-0 to the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday night, August 18, at Stone Stadium.
South Carolina’s Bradlee Baladez put in both scores for the Gamecocks, with his first goal coming 15 seconds into the match. Baladez notched his second goal in the 77th minute to put Elon behind late, 2-0.
Baladez managed to put a long pass behind the Phoenix defense in the back of the net for the early 1-0 lead.
After scoring twice in Elon’s 5-0 exhibition win over UNC Asheville on Wednesday night, Jordan Smith nearly put in the equalizer in the 27th minute, but his shot was stopped by South Carolina goalie Alex Long. Elon ended the match with three shots on goal, two of which were struck off the foot of Smith.
The Gamecocks held on to its lead at intermission, as each squad put half of its shots on goal. South Carolina took eight shots in the opening stanza, while the Phoenix shot four times. USC held a slim 2-1 advantage in corners in the first 45 minutes.
Baladez struck again for South Carolina in the 77th minute after tipping in a shot over Elon goalie Nathan Dean from 18 yards out to put the Phoenix behind, 2-0.
Samuel McBride and Jason Waterman managed to get a couple shots off in the 90th minute, but it would be for naught. Waterman’s shot in the final seconds that would have cut the deficit in half was stopped by Long.
The Phoenix and Gamecocks ended the match tied in corners at four apiece.
Elon returns to action on Saturday night, August 25, when it welcomes local rival High Point to Rhodes Stadium at 8 p.m. Last year’s match versus the Panther’s set a program-record for attendance with over 3,000 fans in Rhodes Stadium.