Spartanburg, S.C. – Dylan Hoop scored in the 74th-minute and USC Upstate held on to take a 1-0 rain-soaked victory over Southern Wesleyan Monday night in non-conference men's soccer action at County University Soccer Stadium.
Upstate improved to 2-1-0 on the year. The Spartans will travel to Conway, S.C., to take on Virginia Commonwealth (Friday) and George Washington (Sunday) in the Coastal Carolina Classic this weekend. Southern Wesleyan fell to 0-1-0 in its season opener.
With rain pouring throughout the first half, the teams battled to a scoreless tie heading into halftime. Upstate and Southern Wesleyan each managed six shots in the period with the Warriors putting three shots on goal and the Spartans putting two on frame. Upstate held a 2-0 edge in corner kicks.
"I thought the field up so well in the first half," said Upstate head coach Greg Hooks, who is just three wins shy of 200 in his career at Upstate. "Southern Wesleyan is technically a very good team. They are skillful in every position, which made it difficult to get the ball. Their two center backs were very good and were able to recover to stop us when we got behind them. Their keeper made a couple of good saves as well."
After a scoreless first half, Upstate finally cracked the scoreboard in the 74th-minute when Hoop (Cincinnati, Ohio) put the Spartans on the scoreboard. Timo Foerster (Oberkirk, Germany) took the ball down the right side and played a cross to the goal mouth. Hoop ran onto the ball and flicked the ball into the net to give Upstate a 1-0 lead.
Hoop has made an immediate impact for the Spartans this season. He has recorded five points in Upstate's two wins this season. In addition to his game-winning goal tonight, he had a goal and an assist in the 2-0 victory over Presbyterian Friday night.
"we saw it when we watched him in recruiting," said Hooks. "Dylan scored a lot of goals in high school and in junior college. He scores a lot of simple goals. He is able to score for two reasons. One, he has a tremendous work rate. He runs constantly and puts himself in position for opportunities. Two, he is also very savvy. He seems to be in the right place at the right time. He is technically a very good player, but he gets a lot of goals the way he did tonight. His attitude and work rate have made him a role model for our team in how we want our guys to play."
Hoop's goal came just six minutes after Southern Wesleyan had a golden opportunity to score but was thwarted by Upstate goalkeeper Jason McCabe (Irmo, S.C.) and defender John Kadane (Garland, Texas). McCabe, who had a season-high six saves on the night, saved a close-in shot off the foot of Daniel Pena. With the conditions very wet, McCabe blocked the shot but was unable to hold onto it. The ball bounced out into the box and McCabe gave chase, fighting on the ground for possession. Raphael Fernanders gained control of the ball and took a shot from 15 yards out on the left, but Kadane was there to kick the ball away and keep the Warriors off the scoreboard.
Upstate finished the game with 10 shots, while Southern Wesleyan had 14. Upstate led, 5-2, in corner kicks.