Spartanburg, S.C. – Fresh off a 2-1 victory over South Carolina to open the exhibition season, the USC Upstate men's soccer team will be back in action with two home exhibitions in a five-day span as the Spartans host Southern Wesleyan Thursday and USC Aiken next Tuesday.
Upstate will face Southern Wesleyan Thursday night at 7:00 and USC Aiken next Tuesday, August 26 at 6:00 p.m. at County University Soccer Stadium. It will be the first game between Upstate and Aiken since the two schools played each other in 2006, the final season for the Spartans in Division II and the Peach Belt Conference prior to making the transition to Division I for the 2007-08 season.
Southern Wesleyan, which is in its first year of NCAA Division II candidacy, was 6-4-1 in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) in 2013. The Warriors advanced to the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) tournament and claimed the South Region championship. They advanced to the NCCAA Nationals and claimed a 1-0 victory over Lee to win the NCCAA National Championship.
USC Aiken was 4-11-2 overall and 1-7-1 in the Peach Belt Conference in 2013. The Pacers are two years removed from a six-win and six-tie season in 2012 when the squad advanced to the championship game of the Peach Belt Tournament.
Upstate claimed a 2-1 win over South Carolina last Saturday night in Columbia. The Spartans jumped on top in the first of three 30-minute periods when Taylor Scalera scored on a header off an assist from Sam Moss. After a scoreless second period, South Carolina tied the game midway through, but Upstate hung tough and Rinaldi Alphonse delivered the game winner off an assist from Leon Schwarzer in the 78th minute to give the Spartans the 2-1 victory.
Hassan Haddad started in goal for Upstate and played the first two periods. Haddad gave way to Jack Rubin for the third period. The Spartans started returning players Haddad, Scalera, Moss, Joshua Jenkins, Matt Flynn, Kyle Juell and 2013 second team A-Sun all-conference selection Marvin Schmiege along with newcomers Schwarzer, Tucker Beerman, Lukas Sommer and Heiko Allmendinger.
Upstate will open the regular season Aug. 29 at UNC Asheville before playing its regular season home opener against Gardner-Webb on Sept. 6 at 7:00 p.m. at County University Soccer Stadium.