Spartanburg, S.C. - The USC Upstate men's soccer team will begin its fifth season of Division I play with arguably its top non-conference game of the season when cross-town rival Wofford makes the 3.5-mile trip down I-585 to County University Soccer Stadium Monday night at 7:00. The match will be the season opener for both teams.
Fans can follow the action online via the official Upstate Athletics website, www.upstatespartans.com. Live statistical updates will be available for free, while live video will be available for a fee from ASun.TV. A complete game recap and statistics will be available shortly after the completion of the match.
While Upstate owns an 8-5-0 lead in the all-time series that dates back to the days of NAIA District Six, Wofford has claimed all three meetings during Upstate's Division I era. The teams did not play in the Spartans' inaugural season playing on the Division I level in 2007, but have played every year since. Wofford took a 2-0 win in 2008, a 1-0 victory in 2009 and a 4-1 win last year.
Upstate finished its scrimmage season with a 1-0-1 record. The Spartans took a 5-1 win over Spartanburg Methodist College and a 1-1 tie of Gardner-Webb. Wofford opened its exhibition season with a 1-0 win over Presbyterian College and took a 2-0 victory over Queens Friday night.
Upstate returns a veteran team that also boasts a 10-player recruiting class. Senior goalkeeper Jason McCabe ranked second in the A-Sun last year with 69 saves and is a two-time A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week selection in his career. He is an experienced keeper. Fellow seniors Hakeem King and Timo Foerster lead the offensive attack for the Spartans. Foerster ranked second on the team in scoring with six points last season. His six assists ranked sixth in the A-Sun. King tallied two goals a year ago. In all, Upstate returns eight starters and 13 lettermen. Upstate finished the 2010 season with a 1-12-3 overall record and a 0-9-0 mark in the A-Sun. However, the Spartans lost six games by one goal, including four in A-Sun play.
Wofford is two seasons removed from winning the Southern Conference Tournament and advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2009. However, the Terriers couldn't match that success and finished the 2010 campaign with a 3-11-3 overall record. They finished 1-6-0 in the SoCon, good for seventh place. Wofford returns six starters and 13 lettermen from last year's squad. With four points last year, Alex Hutchins and Billy Padula are the leading returning scorers for the Terriers.
Looking Back at the Scrimmages
Upstate opened the 2011 season with a pair of scrimmages, taking a 5-1 victory over Spartanburg Methodist and tying Gardner-Webb. The Spartans welcomed SMC to County University Soccer Stadium on Aug. 17. Seniors Timo Foerster and Jan Wienholt showed tremendous leadership, while newcomer Dylan Hoop came through in a big way. Foerster recorded an assist and later scored a goal, while Wienholt notched a pair of goals. Hoop, a transfer from Cincinnati State, scored two goals as well. He notched the first goal of the match and closed out the scoring as well. The Spartans held the Pioneers to just one shot over the final 60 minutes of play.
Against Gardner-Webb, Upstate scored first when Michael Rankin-Byrne took the ball down the left sideline and lifted a pass to Hakeem King in the middle of the field about 25 yards out. King moved in and lifted a shot over the charging Bulldog keeper and into the back of the net to open the scoring. Gardner-Webb would come back to tie the game in the second half and the teams played to a 90-minute, 1-1, draw.
Spartans Return Veteran Group
Heading into its fifth season playing on the NCAA Division I level and in the A-Sun, Upstate returns its most experienced team since the days of Division II. The Spartans have 13 lettermen and eight starters returning from last year's team. There are 18 upperclassmen on the squad, including nine seniors. Of the nine seniors, six see significant action, including Jason McCabe (goalkeeper), Timo Foerster (midfielder), Hakeem King (forward), Colin Francis (midfielder), Jan Wienholt (midfielder) and Chris McCoy (defender).
Upstate also returns much of its scoring from a year ago. While leading scorer Maurice Beggs (8 points) exhausted his eligibility, seven of the top 10 scorers from a year ago have returned for 2010. Foerster led the Spartans and ranked sixth in the A-Sun with six assists as the team's second leading scorer. King was the third-leading scorer with four points, all on goals. McCabe totaled a 1.84 goals against average and ranked second in the A-Sun with 69 points.
Looking for Win No. 200
In a career that has been marked with tremendous success, Upstate head coach Greg Hooks is on the verge of recording win No. 200 in his 17 years at the helm of the Spartan program. Hooks took over the team in 1995 and coached the squad to the championship game of the NCAA Division II Tournament. He has posted 194 wins at Upstate, just six shy of 200. He is 16 wins short of reaching 300 in his career.
McCabe Logs the Minutes
To say that starting goalkeeper Jason McCabe logged some serious minutes in the net last year for Upstate is an understatement. The fifth-year senior in 2011 played all but 45 minutes in goal for the Spartans last season. He tallied 1,469 of Upstate's 1,514 minutes. McCabe sat out the 2009 season and received a red-shirt year, which he is using in 2011.
Upstate Tops 400 Career Wins
Arguably the top program in the history of the Upstate Athletics Department, the men's soccer team has won 410 matches in its history that dates back to the inaugural season in 1980. The Spartans own a 410-163-91 record and made 10 appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Frustrating Losses in 2010
While Upstate's 1-12-3 overall record in 2010 was not stellar, it was also deceiving. The Spartans dropped six games by a single goal and another two by two goals. A break here or there could have turned the season around for the Spartans. Four of the six one-goal losses came during A-Sun play.
McCabe a Decorated Keeper
Senior goalkeeper Jason McCabe has received recognition for his play in the net during his time in an Upstate uniform. As a freshman in 2007, he was named the A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week after leading the Spartans to a sweep of Belmont and Lipscomb. Last year, he also earned Defensive Player of the Week honors from the A-Sun when he posted back-to-back shutouts in a 1-0 win over UNC Asheville and a 0-0 tie of Furman.
Upstate Strong at Home
Since opening County University Soccer Stadium with a 1-0 victory over Colorado School of Mines and former Upstate head coach and current Athletics Hall of Fame member Frank Kohlenstein in 2001, the Spartans have enjoyed playing in the friendly confines of County University Soccer Stadium. Upstate has played 94 matches in the facility and have won 60 times. The Spartans own a 60-27-7 overall record in the stadium, a record that has included hosting Peach Belt and NCAA Division II National Tournament games. Their winning percentage is .676 in 10 years in the stadium. The Spartans play seven regular season games at County University Soccer Stadium in 2011.