Charlotte's men's soccer team won their first conference game in dominating fashion on Saturday, Sep. 25, with a strong performance from the backline and red-shirt senior Joe Brito, producing a four-point night with one goal and two assists.
Now 5-2-0 on the season, Charlotte took the South Carolina Gamecocks down with a 3-0 win with goals from Kameron Lacey, Preston Popp and Joe Brito.
The first half began, and the Gamecocks got the first couple of shots on goal in the 5th minute, ultimately being stopped by goalkeeper Daniel Kuzemka.
The 49ers hustled to look for the first point, cranking out a few shots in the 11th minute, ending in South Carolina blocks.
After a few free kicks from South Carolina still leaving the score blank, junior Kameron Lacey found the lower left of the net in the 15th minute, setting the score at 1-0, with Brito getting his first point of the night with an assist on the goal.
A quick substitution in the 24th minute led Lacey off the field and Popp on. Just moments after heading onto the field, Popp buried the ball into the back of the net. The score stood at 2-0 after his walk-on goal, with Brito gaining his second point of the night with a subsequent assist.
A few substitutions and free kicks later, the 49ers successfully held control, sealing the first half off with a 2-0 lead headed into the locker room.
Charlotte remained in control of the play stepping into the second half, with consecutive blocks from the backline and strong saves from Kuzemka.
Freshman Alessandro Negri's attempt to cross the ball resulted in a handball being called on South Carolina, which led to a penalty kick being awarded to the Niners.
Brito stepped up for the kick and launched it into the back of the net, signing his name on his four-point night and setting the score at a solid 3-0 with a little under 30 minutes left to play on the clock.
The Gamecocks looked to get a point on the board by putting the pressure on, but the Niner's backline consisting of senior Delasi Batse and freshmen Ian Pilcher and Lasse Laursen stepped up to the plate to secure the lead.
The impressive play by the defense was paired with three crucial saves by Kuzemka, putting the bow on top of the present that is Charlotte's first clean sheet of their season.
Players of the Game
Lacey's goal puts him on a three-game point streak, sitting at a goal a game, notching him to four goals on the season.
Brito has upped his fifth-year season stats at four goals, and four assists with only seven games played this season.
Charlotte will continue at home with their next match on Tuesday, Sep. 28, at Transamerica Field. They will be facing Wofford College with kickoff set at 7 p.m. ET.