Nov. 3, 2009
Spartanburg, S.C. - USC Upstate will end its season Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. when the Spartans play host to Gardner-Webb in a non-conference rivalry game at County University Soccer Stadium. The game will close out the 2009 season as Upstate honors its three seniors - Ben Brannan, Nick Buxton and Pat Regna - in a ceremony prior to the start of the game. Upstate enters the match with a 5-9-2 overall record, while Gardner-Webb is 8-6-1. The Spartans own a 4-1-1 lead in the series with the Bulldogs heading into Wednesday's action.
Fans not in attendance at the game can watch the action live online at ASun.TV by visiting the service's Web site, www.asun.tv, and clicking on the USC Upstate tab. Fans can also get live statistical updates via Gametracker on the official Upstate Athletics Web site at www.upstatespartans.com.
Looking Back At Belmont And Lipscomb
When Upstate took the field Friday night against Belmont, the Spartans knew they needed to win to have a chance at securing one of six playoff spots in the A-Sun Tournament. Upstate fell behind 1-0 in the first half and started the second still trailing Belmont. However, Maurice Beggs tied the game early in the period and Timo Foerster provided the game winner in the 83rd minute to lift Upstate to the win and within striking distance of a spot in the A-Sun Tournament.
After the completion of A-Sun games on Saturday, Upstate was in a position that if it won against Lipscomb on Sunday, it would secure a spot in the A-Sun Tournament. Lipscomb jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half and held off a Spartans rally to take the win. Beggs scored early in the second half to cut the lead to 2-1 and Upstate fought hard to try to tie the game. Lipscomb, though, managed to hold the Spartans at bay for the win, ending Upstate's shot at a tournament position.
Wednesday is sure to be emotional as Upstate will say thank you to three seniors who are playing their final game in a Spartan uniform. Ben Brannan, Nick Buxton and Pat Regna will suit up one last time for the Spartans and will be honored prior to the start of the game against Gardner-Webb. All three have been integral parts of the Spartan defense in their stay at the University. The trio have helped Upstate cut its goals allowed figure from 50 last year, to 25 this season.
Brannan, from Rock Hill, transferred to Upstate from Spartanburg Methodist College prior to the 2008 season and has been a key player in the back for Upstate. He helped Upstate secure its first Division I shutout this season. His hard work and commitment is something that will be missed.
Buxton, from Towcester, England, has been a mainstay in the center of the defense for the better part of five years at Upstate. He missed most of last season with an injury and returned this year after receiving a medical redshirt. He was a a preseason All-ASun selection in 2007. He has been the leader in the back for Upstate.
Regna, from Rochester, N.Y., has simply been outstanding in goal for Upstate in his two seasons in the program. Statistically, he leads the A-Sun in saves and saves per game while ranking in the top five in three other categories this season. But his play and extraordinary saves in goal have single-handedly kept Upstate in games when it could have easily lost and spurred the Spartans on to a Division I-era record five wins this season. There is no way to place a value on the kind of leadership he has provided on and off the field.
Spartans In The A-Sun
With three seniors playing key roles on the defense, it should be no surprise that Upstate is ranked among the league leaders in several statistical categories. Upstate ranks first with 100 saves, fourth with 1.56 goals allowed per game and fifth with a 1.50 goals against average. Individually, Pat Regna tops all A-Sun goalkeepers with 98 saves and 6.12 saves per game, while ranking second with a .797 save percentage.
Foerster Provides A Program First
When Timo Foerster scored a goal at North Florida on Oct. 25, he raised his season scoring total to a team-best 11 points. In doing so, he became the first Spartan to reach double digits in scoring since Upstate made the move to Division I and the A-Sun in 2007.
Securing A Division I First
Heading into the game at ETSU on Oct. 4, Upstate had yet to record a shutout as a member of NCAA Division I. With Pat Regna in goal and a bend but don't break defense, the Spartans secured the shutout and tie to give the program its first DI shutout.
Regna Earns A-Sun, Goal.com Weekly Honors
After a tremendous week when he collected 19 saves and made several extraordinary saves to lead Upstate to a pair of victories over Georgia Southern (3-1, Sept. 23) and Presbyterian (2-1, 2OT, Sept. 26), Spartan goalkeeper Pat Regna earned A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 28. It marked the fourth A-Sun weekly honor for a Spartan men's soccer player since Upstate moved to Division I and the conference in 2007. Regna also received national honors by Goal.com when he was one of 11 players across the country named to the Web site's Team of the Week.
Upstate Versus The A-Sun
As Upstate moves into A-Sun play, it is noteworthy to chronicle the Spartans' performance against A-Sun member institutions. Upstate has played A-Sun member schools 41 times and is 16-21-4 all-time against the league. In the Spartans' two seasons playing in the A-Sun prior to this year, Upstate owns a 6-18-3 record against conference 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.
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 59-19-4 at the friendly confines of County University Soccer Stadium for a winning percentage of .744. Overall, Upstate is 227-54-14 at home for an .793 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.