SPARTANBURG, S.C. – On Thursday afternoon, Greg Hooks kicked off his 16th-season at the helm of the Spartan program with a 3-0 victory over Spartanburg Methodist College at the university's soccer practice fields.
USC Upstate's first goal of the match came off the foot of senior Erkan Yildirim (Flensburg, Germany/Flensburg University) as he juked the Pioneer goalkeeper and tapped in his shot for the 1-0 lead.
After Yildirim was tripped inside the box, Timo Foerster (Oberkirk, Germany/Hans Furler Gymnasium HS) scored on the penalty kick to extend the lead to 2-0. Upstate tacked on one more first half goal when Foerster assisted teammate Hakeem King (Port of Spain, Trinidad/St. Mary's College).
As the two teams broke for halftime, a thunderstorm passed through the area, causing a delay of 52 minutes. In the second half, the teams battled to a scoreless period as the halftime margin wound up being the final tally.
Upstate outshot the Pioneers 19-7 on Thursday and took six corner kicks compared to just three for SMC. Jason McCabe (Irmo, S.C./Dutch Fork HS) got the start in goal for the Spartans and recorded one save before being relieved in the second half. Andrew Miller (Hubert, N.C./Swansboro HS) recorded two saves as he played the last 20 minutes of Thursday's exhibition.
SMC was whistled for eight fouls and two offsides compared to three fouls and zero offsides for the Spartans.
Upstate will return to the pitch on Tuesday when it hosts Clemson in an exhibition match. Kickoff between the Spartans and the Tigers is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at County University Soccer Stadium.