SPARTANBURG, S.C. - To kick-off the 2010 regular season the USC Upstate men's soccer team will make a pair of trips to the state of Georgia. The Spartans will face Georgia Southern on Sept. 1, followed by a matchup with Georgia State on Sept. 4.
At A Glance...
• Scouting the Eagles and the Panthers
• Looking Back at Spartanburg Methodist College and Clemson
• Upstate Returns 90 Percent of its scoring from 2009
During the preseason, Georgia Southern picked up victories over A-Sun member Mercer (1-0) and Lander (4-1). The Eagles also squared off against Gardner-Webb and the two teams battled to a scoreless draw. In 2010, the Eagles will have to count on someone to step up and fill in the hole left by departed senior Danny Hall. Hall led the team in both goals and points during the 2009 season.
The Spartans enter Wednesday's match looking to tie the all-time series. Upstate claimed a 3-1 victory last season in Spartanburg to cut the Eagles series lead to 2-1. The Spartans were led in the match by Erkan Yildirim who scored a pair of goals in the final 18 minutes of the match. Fans who cannot attend the match can catch the action live as well as receive live statistical updates by visiting at www.georgiasoutherneagles.com.
Scouting the Panthers
Before squaring off with the Spartans, Georgia State will kick off the 2010 season on Wed., Sept. 1, as it travels to Boiling Springs, N.C. to face Gardner-Webb. Three of the Panthers top scorers from a season ago return for their sophomore campaigns. As a freshman, Gimel Gordon led the Panthers in goals (3) and points (8), while Yasser Majluf and Caleb Kernan scored two goals each. Georgia State posted a 1-1-1 mark during the preseason as the Panthers battled nationally-ranked Wake Forest (L, 1-3), Alabama-Birmingham (T, 2-2) and Lipscomb (W, 2-1).
Gerogia State owns the all-time series lead 7-2-1 after winning last season's matchup in Spartanburg by a score of 2-1. Upstate's lone goal of that match came in the 85th-minute when Felipe Grana found the back of the net on a double-assist from Timo Foerster and Erkan Yildirim. Fans who cannot attend the match can receive live statistical updates via livestats at www.georgiastatesports.com.
Looking Back at Spartanburg Methodist College and Clemson
During the preseason, the Spartans claimed two victories as they defeated Spartanburg Methodist College (3-0) and Clemson (2-1). Three different Spartans found the back of the net in the first half against SMC. Timo Foerster lead the way with a goal and an assist, while Maurice Beggs and Erkan Yildirim each notched a goal. The three first-half goals by the Spartans proved to be the final tally as the two teams battled to a scoreless second-half draw after a 15-minute halftime turned into nearly an hour due to inclement weather.
In the match against Clemson, freshman Jan Wienholt put the Spartans on the board first as he scored on a pass from Timo Foerster in the 15th-minute. Upstate increased its lead to 2-0, when Hakeem King scored on a double-assist from Maurice Beggs and James Hadley in the 51st minute. Just four minutes later, Clemson cut the deficit in half when Austin Savage scored Clemson's lone go of the match. Jason McCabe recorded five saves in the match and Philipp Soppa made a huge block in the 48th-minute to help the Spartans defeat the Tigers.
Upstate welcomes back 90 percent of its scoring from the 2009 season. Maurice Beggs led the team with seven goals, while Timo Foerster and Erkan Yildirim tied for second with four goals. Returners John Kadane, Tim Bailey and Felipe Grana also tallied goals for the Spartans in 2009.
Looking Back at 2009
In 2009, the Spartans finished the season with a 5-9-3 mark and a 2-5-2 record in conference play. The five wins by the team is the most since the move to D-I and it ties the win total from the first two seasons of D-I play (2007 & 2008). Departed senior Pat Regna earned Second-Team All-Atlantic Sun honors after leading the conference with 105 saves. Regna finished the campaign with a 1.51 GAA as he started all 17 matches for Upstate and logged all 1608:30 between the pipes for Coach Hooks' team. Four different Spartans tallied game-winning goals in 2009 and leading the way was Timo Foerster with two (at UNC Asheville on Sept. 16 and against Belmont on Oct. 30)
Upstate Men's Soccer Fully Eligible
While Upstate men's soccer is just in its fourth year of competing on the NCAA Division I level, it is became fully eligible for postseason A-Sun and NCAA tournament play in 2009. Upstate, upon declaring its intention to move to D-I membership, tapped the men's soccer and softball teams as fast-track sports into NCAA Division I. Upstate's remaining 15 sports will become eligible beginning with the 2011-12 academic year.
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 58-20-5 at the friendly confines of County University Soccer Stadium for a winning percentage of .729. Overall, Upstate is 227-54-15 at home for an .792 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.