Nov. 28, 2010
Site: Columbia, S.C. (Stone Stadium)
Score: #19 Michigan 3, #18 South Carolina 1
Records: U-M (16-4-3), South Carolina (13-7-2)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Dec. 4 -- at Maryland - NCAA Quarterfinals (College Park, Md.), 1 p.m.
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The No. 19-ranked University of Michigan men's soccer team scored three times in a 17-minute span to knock off No. 18-ranked and No. 7 seed South Carolina, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 28) at Stone Stadium. Senior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Eisenhower) scored twice to help the Wolverines advance to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second time in program history, joining the 2003 squad.
Freshman forward Soony Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) scored his 19th goal of the season, sandwiched between Meram markers in the 64th and 81st minutes, and tallied an assist. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Chris Blais (Seattle, Wash./Kennedy Memorial) made six stops in the victory.
Following 63 minutes of scoreless soccer, the Wolverines strung together three straight second-half goals. Michigan opened the scoring at 63:52, converting on a third pass after a corner kick. Meram got open on the left post to receive a pass from senior midfielder Alex Wood (Northville, Mich./Northville). Meram made a quick touch and slid it into the right side of the net.
Michigan's lead extended to 2-0 on a marker from Saad six minutes later. In a mirror image of his unsuccessful scoring effort 20 minutes earlier, Saad carried the ball down the left side toward the end line where he unleashed a low line drive past the outstretched arms of the South Carolina keeper. Meram then put the game firmly out of reach inside the final 10 minutes, using a juke to streak past a defender before roofing his second marker of the game.
The Wolverines had their chances in the first half, owning an 11-7 shot advantage. Meram got in alone on a breakaway midway through the frame but was forced to shoot wide by a sliding goalkeeper. Blais kept the game scoreless late in the stanza with a diving stop off a set play. South Carolina earned a free kick near midfield and sent a booming cross to the opposite side of the field. The attacker took one touch on the ball and sent a shot at the near post, into the arms of a laid out Blais.
South Carolina got one goal past Blais in the 84th minute on a cross play into a header to make it a 3-1 contest. Despite the marker, the Wolverines cruised to the final.
Michigan will face No. 2 seed Maryland in the NCAA Quarterfinals next Saturday (Dec. 3) at 1 p.m.
2nd -- U-M, Justin Meram, 63:52 (Soony Saad, Alex Wood)
2nd -- U-M, Saad, 70:03 (unassisted)
2nd -- U-M, Meram, 80:40 (unassisted)
2nd -- SC, Sam Arthur, 83:15 (Ben Brettschneider)
Shots: U-M 22, SC 18
Shots on Goal: U-M 12, SC 7
Saves: U-M 4 (Chris Blais), SC 1 (Jimmy Maurer)
Corner Kicks: U-M 5, SC 7
Fouls: U-M 11, SC 17
Cards: SC, Danny Cates, 40:32 (Yellow); SC, Will Traynor, 64:36 (Red); U-M, Soony Saad, 71:53 (Yellow); SC, Evan O'Dell, 81:43 (Yellow); U-M, Jeffery Quijano, 81:43 (Yellow).
Contact: Jessica Poole (734) 763-4423