Spartans Ready For Key Matches This Weekend
Spartanburg, S.C. - With a potential berth in the A-Sun Tournament on the line with games Friday and Sunday at County University Soccer Stadium, this is the biggest weekend for the men's soccer program since joining the ranks of Division I and the A-Sun in 2007. Upstate plays host to Belmont Friday at 7:00 p.m. and Lipscomb Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. with all three teams battling for one of six spots in the upcoming A-Sun Tournament. Upstate and Belmont are on the outside looking in and the winner of the match on Friday will remain in the hunt. Upstate enters the weekend with a 4-8-2 overall record and a 1-4-2 mark with five points in the conference. Belmont is 3-11-1 overall and 2-5-0 with six points in the league. Lipscomb is currently in the sixth spot with eight points on a 2-3-2 conference record and stands 5-8-3 overall.
Upstate is currently 1-1-0 all-time against Belmont with each team winning on its home field. The Spartans are also 1-1-0 all-time against Lipscomb, again with the teams holding serve at home. Fans not in attendance at the games can watch the action live on ASun.TV by visiting the Web site at www.asun.tv and clicking the USC Upstate tab for ordering instructions. Live statistical updates will also be available using Gametracker via the official Upstate Athletics Web site at www.upstatespartans.com.
Looking Back At Jacksonville And North
Upstate's postseason chances took a blow last weekend when the Spartans traveled to Jacksonville, Fla., and returned home with a 1-0 loss at Jacksonville and a 4-2 loss at North Florida. Upstate opened the weekend with a spirited defensive battle against Jacksonville. Upstate keeper Pat Regna was simply outstanding in goal and came away with several key saves to keep the Spartans in the game. A Dolphin goal in the 27th minute spelled the difference in the 1-0 Jacksonville victory. At North Florida on Sunday, Upstate battled to stay in the game, cutting the deficit to 3-2 in the second half, but the Ospreys got a goal in the 69th minute to take a 4-2 lead and held off the Spartans the rest of the way.
Spartans Battling For A-Sun Tournament Spot
Upstate enters the weekend knowing exactly what it needs to do to put itself in a position to claim one of six spots in the upcoming A-Sun Tournament, it must win. Upstate began last weekend tied for eighth and well within striking distance of a spot in the tournament. After a pair of losses in Jacksonville, Fla., the Spartans have fallen to 10th, but are just three points out of a spot in the tournament. Lipscomb, the Spartans' opponent Sunday afternoon, holds the sixth position with eight points, while Belmont is just one point better in the standings than Upstate. A pair of wins would almost assure Upstate of a position in the tournament, though soccer in the A-Sun has become so unpredictable that nothing is for sure entering Friday's game against Belmont.
Foerster Provides A Program First
When Timo Foerster scored a goal at North Florida on Sunday, 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 39 times and is 15-20-4 all-time against the league. In the Spartans' two seasons playing in the A-Sun prior to this year, Upstate owns a 5-17-3 record against conference schools.
Upstate Sheds Provisional Status, Now Fully DI
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 58-19-4 at the friendly confines of County University Soccer Stadium for a winning percentage of .741. Overall, Upstate is 226-53-14 at home for an .795 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.
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.