SPARTANBURG, S.C. – It did not take long for freshman Rachel Collins (Raleigh, N.C./Athens Drive HS) to make her name known. The 5-foot-10 goalkeeper tied a school-record with 14 saves in her collegiate debut.
Collins joins Diana Wabnitz (twice), Samantha Spradley and Brittany Daughtry on the list of goalies to tally 14 saves in a single match. Collins gave it her all as she recorded nine first half saves, the first-year Spartan was not at all shy about diving for any and every loose ball in an effort to keep the Spartans in the match.
"I wasn't nervous at all today," said Collins. "I was actually really excited, the preseason training really helped get rid of any nervousness I might encounter. I had no clue I was even close to a school-record, it never crossed my mind. My goal is to stop goals and to keep my team in the match."
USC Upstate and Charleston Southern battled to a scoreless draw at halftime as the Upstate defense battled to keep all 24 CSU shots out of the back of the net.
"I am very pleased with our performance today," said head coach Renee Lopez. "Charleston Southern is a very tough opponent and that is evident by their second-place preseason ranking in the Big South Conference. Our girls will build on today's match as we prepare for Furman. I want to commend Collins and the entire defensive line for their outstanding play today."
Upstate continued to keep the Buccaneer offense at bay through the first 12 minutes of the second half until Marky Boyce scored the first goal of the match off of a corner kicker by Staci Ulichnie in the 58th-minute.
Just 10 minutes later, Boyce tacked on her second goal of the match when she connected on her shot from the left side of the box. CSU set the final margin at 3-0 when Caitlin Wesnesky scored on a pass from Olivia Urig.
"I am proud of the progress we have made in two weeks," Lopez added. "When everyone arrived for the preseason on Aug. 6, we didn't even know each other's name at that point. We have made tremendous strides thus far and we will continue that trend as the season progresses."
In the match, the Spartans were whistled for 10 fouls and one offside, compared to six fouls and two offsides for the Buccaneers. Upstate tallied 14 saves, while CSU recorded two.
Upstate will return to the pitch on Tuesday evening when they
make the trip down Interstate 85 to face the Furman Paladins.
Kickoff in Greenville, S.C., is scheduled for 6:00
- Senior Catherine Nolff (Columbia, S.C./Irmo HS) started her 56th consecutive match, a streak that began with her start in the second game of the 2007 season at Furman (9-6-07). Her mark is a D-I era record and ranks fifth all-time in school history.
- Rachel Collins' 14 saves is the most ever by a freshman goalkeeper.
- Seven freshmen started the match on Friday for Coach Lopez, and in all, nine freshmen made their collegiate debut.