Sept. 25, 2009
Spartanburg, S.C. - USC Upstate returns to the pitch to battle a familiar for in Presbyterian when the Spartans travel to Clinton, S.C., Saturday night for a 7:00 start. Upstate and PC have played 20 times in the series with the Spartans owning a 13-5-2 lead. Upstate has outscored the Blue Hose by a 43-20 margin. The Spartans enter the game having won two of its last three contests and is 2-4-0 on the year. PC is 1-5-0 entering the match, having lost its last four games. Upstate and PC have played two common opponents this season, Georgia State and Davidson. PC is 1-1 against the two opponents, winning at home against Georgia State by a 3-2 score, while Upstate is 0-2 against the two opponents, losing both games by a single goal.
Presbyterian, like Upstate, is in its third season playing on the Division I level and competes in the Big South Conference. The Blue Hose are coached by Bret Boulware, now in his 10th season at the helm of the program. He owns a 72-76-16 overall record having spent his entire head coaching career at PC. The Blue Hose have scored five goals on the season with five different players finding the back of the net. James Neal has spent the majority of time in goal for PC, notching 450 minutes in net and picking up the win against Georgia State. He owns a 1.60 goals against average.
Fans not in attendance at the game can watch the action live online at www.bigsouthsports.com and clicking the Big South Network banner at the top of the page. Subscription prices will apply. Fans can also get live statistical updates via PC's official Athletics Web site at www.gobluehose.com.
Looking Back At Georgia Southern
Erkan Yildirim notched two second half goals to lead Upstate to a 3-1 victory over Georgia Southern Wednesday night at County University Soccer Stadium. The Spartans recorded their first home victory of the season with the win and have won two of their last three games. Timo Foerster began the scoring for Upstate in the first half, curving a shot into the right side of the net in the 23rd minute to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead. GSU tied the game in the 33rd minute on a penalty kick. After playing the rest of the first half and 28 minutes of the second half to a standstill, Upstate broke on top when Yildirim blasted a left-footed shot from 30 yards out into the upper left 90 for the eventual game winner off of Porter Massey's first collegiate assist. He added his second goal of the game in the 88th minute to seal the win.
Spartans Snap One-Goal Decisions In Win
Not only did Upstate win its first home game of the season Wednesday night against Georgia Southern, the Spartans also snapped a string of five straight games decided by a single goal. Prior to the 3-1 victory over Georgia Southern, Upstate had won a 2-1 game at UNC Asheville and dropped one-goal decisions to Georgia State, Davidson, Wofford and High Point.
Spartans Rank Among A-Sun's Best
With increased scoring production and a solid defense, several of Upstate's players are ranked among the A-Sun's best in the latest statistical report released by the conference. Timo Foerster is tied for the conference lead with three assists and a 0.50 assists per game average. He also ranks third with seven points and joins teammate Erkan Yildirim tied for fifth with two goals on the year. Goalkeeper Pat Regna, who has played every minute in goal this season for the Spartans, ranks fourth with 28 saves, fifth with a .757 save percentage and sixth with a 1.46 goals against average.
Upstate Versus The Big South
Upstate has played Big South Conference member schools 61 times in the history of the soccer program. The Spartans have had tremendous success against seven of the Big South schools, claiming winning records against all seven opponents. Upstate has played Charleston Southern (6-0-2), Coastal Carolina (3-1-1), Gardner-Webb (4-1-1), High Pont (5-1-0), UNC Asheville (4-0-0), Presbyterian (13-5-2) and Winthrop (7-4-2) in its soccer history. Combined, the Spartans are 42-12-8 against Big South schools.
Upstate Sheds Provisional Status, Now Fully DI Eligible
While Upstate men's soccer is just in its third year of competing on the NCAA Division I level, it is now fully eligible for postseason A-Sun and NCAA tournament play in 2009. Upstate, upon declaring its intention to move to DI membership, tapped the men's soccer and softball teams as fast-track sports into NCAA Division I. After two seasons playing on the DI level, men's soccer and softball are now fully eligible members.
Looking For A DI First
Heading into its third season playing on the Division I level, Upstate has yet to record a shutout as a DI member. The Spartans recorded a 2-2 tie against Florida Gulf Coast in the next to last game of the season to deliver the Spartans' first DI tie, but Upstate is still looking for the allusive shutout.
Spartans Strong At Home
Since moving into County University Soccer Stadium, the Upstate men's soccer program has been tough to beat. Actually, since the inception of the program in 1980, the Spartans have been stout on the Spartanburg campus. Upstate is an impressive 58-19-3 at the friendly confines of County University Soccer Stadium for a winning percentage of .744. Overall, Upstate is 226-52-13 at home for an .799 winning percentage in Spartanburg. Upstate played its first season in the quad behind the Administrative Building prior to moving to historic Rifle Field in 1981. The Spartans (then, the Rifles) tallied a 162-30-10 record for an .802 winning percentage at Rifle Field.
Hooks An Accomplished Field Leader
USC Upstate head coach Greg Hooks has had an accomplished 22-year coaching career. He has a career record of 278-103-24 with coaching stints at Spartanburg Methodist (1985), Lees-McRae (1986-87), University of Charleston (1991-94) and USC Upstate (1995-present). He started the programs at both Lees-McRae and University of Charleston, leading both programs to national rankings. He took over the Upstate program in 1995 and coached the team to an appearance in the NCAA Division II National Championship game and returned the team to the title game in 1998. He has led Upstate to 191 victories, five Peach Belt Conference regular season championships, six Peach Belt Conference Tournament titles, and five NCAA Tournament appearances. Hooks ended his reign in NCAA Division II as the division's second winningest coach all-time.
Spartan Soccer - A Story Of Success
While the USC Upstate Athletics Department has had a storied history of success throughout its existence, the men's soccer program has achieved success on a more consistent level than any other program at the University. Upstate men's soccer finished third in the NAIA National Tournament three straight years from 1983-85 and made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances in 16 years in the NCAA Division II. The Spartans claimed seven regular season Peach Belt Conference championships, nine Peach Belt Conference Tournament titles, and advanced to the championship game of the league tournament 14 times in 16 years.