Spartans Set for Final Road Swing of 2010

Game Notes

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's soccer team will travel to the state of Georgia this weekend for its final road matches of 2010.

The Spartans will battle Kennesaw State on Friday night before facing Mercer on Sunday afternoon.

At A Glance...

• Scouting the Owls and the Bears

• Looking Back at Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast

• A Division I First

• Freshman Pace the Spartans

Scouting the Owls

Kennesaw State enters the weekend in a tie for fourth-place in the A-Sun.  The Owls played just one match last week as they traveled to Buies Creek, N.C., to face Campbell.  KSU came away with the 2-0 victory over the Camels on Thursday (10/7).

Alyssa Mahan and Alma Gardarsdottir are the offensive catalysts for the Owls.  The pair of Owls has each scored four goals and has combined for nine assists.  Mahan has 14 points on the season, while Gardarsdottir has 11.  Staci Pugh has seen the majority of action between the pipes for KSU.  She has made 58 saves while allowing 15 goals (1.34 GAA).

Fans not in attendance can watch the action live by visiting www.ASun.TV and clicking on the Kennesaw State tab.  Fans can also receive live statistical updates by visiting www.ksuowls.com.

Scouting the Bears

Mercer enters the weekend tied for fourth in the conference with a 5-8-1 record overall and a 4-3-0 mark in league play.  Kacie Hudson leads the team in goals (5) and points (10), while Sara Elliot paces the team with two assists and ranks second in points (6).  The Bears have used a trio of goalkeepers this season and as a team they have made 50 saves, while allowing 21 goals (1.43 GAA) and four shutouts.

Fans not in attendance can watch the action live by visiting www.ASun.TV and clicking on the Mercer tab.  Fans can also receive live statistical updates by visiting www.mercerbears.com.

Looking Back at Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast

On Friday night Upstate and Stetson battled to a scoreless draw after 110 minutes of action.  Rachel Collins made five saves and Upstate picked up a pair of team saves to preserve the tie.  Stetson outshot the Spartans 16-3 and owned a 7-1 advantage in shots on-goal.  To close out the homestand, the Spartans again pitched a shutout as they held the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles scoreless for 110 minutes as the two teams finished with a 0-0 (2 OT) draw.  The Eagles, who entered the match at the top of the A-Sun standings, were unable to find the back of the net, despite outshooting the Spartans 25-4.

Collins Earns Defensive Player of the Week Honors

After leading Upstate to a pair of scoreless draws over the weekend, freshman goalkeeper Rachel Collins was honored by the A-Sun as the Defensive Player of the Week.  It was the first weekly award for the Raleigh, N.C., native and it was also the first weekly award for the women's soccer program since the move to Division I in 2007.  Collins held two of the top teams in the conference scoreless (Stetson entered the weekend tied for fourth, while FGCU entered Sunday in first-place).  The 12 saves Collins recorded against the Eagles is the best single-match performance in conference play this season.  With 220 minutes of scoreless play over the weekend, Collins now owns a shutout streak of 247:10, which is the longest streak since 2004.  During the '04 campaign, Diana Wabnitz owned a streak of 407:23 from Sept. 9, 2004 through Oct. 6, 2004.

The Freshman Experience

First-year head coach Renee Lopez has counted on her senior leaders, but she has also received help along the way from her freshmen.  In the match against Morehead State (9/10), Danielle White delivered the game-winner as Upstate claimed the 1-0 win for its first win of 2010.  Against Alabama State (9/19), it was Jessica Jackyra who notched the game-winner, as the Spartans downed the Hornets 2-0; White also scored a goal in that match.  Against Lipscomb, Jessica Jackyra struck again, this time with a blast from 35 yards out, to lift Upstate to its first conference win of the season.  In the match at Jacksonville, Rachel Curd scored her first collegiate goal.

2 for 15

Freshman Jessica Jackyra leads the Spartans with two-game winning goals in 2010.  The freshman scored her first collegiate goal at Alabama State on Sept. 19 to give the Spartans a 1-0 advantage.  Upstate went on to defeat the Hornets, 2-0, in Montgomery, Ala.  The Upstate defender scored her second goal of the season against Lipscomb (Sept. 26).  Jackyra's blast from 35 yards found the back of the net, helping the Spartans earn its first conference win of the campaign.  Not only does number 15 lead Upstate in game-winners, she is near the top of the conference, as she is tied for third. 

All-Tournament Trio

Three different Spartans earned All-Tournament honors at the 2010 Border Classic hosted by Under Armour and Gardner-Webb (9/10, 12).  Senior Catherine Nolff was named to the team for the second consecutive season.  Nolff along with Ashleigh Barkley and Courtney Mack helped solidify the back line for the Spartans as Upstate claimed the 1-0 victory against Morehead State (9/10).

Second to None

When Renee Lopez was hired on Nov. 18, 2009 as head coach, she immediately hit the recruiting trail.  Lopez signed a total of 12 freshmen to her first recruiting class and not only is that the largest freshman class in the Atlantic Sun Conference, but only one other school in the entire nation has 12 incoming freshmen for the 2010 season.  Joining the Spartans with 12 freshmen are the Argos from West Florida, a Division II institution located in Pensacola, Fla.

The Energizer Bunny

Not only has senior Catherine Nolff seen action in all 15 games for the Spartans this season, the Columbia, S.C., native has not left the field for a single second.  Nolff has played all 1406:21 on the pitch for first-year head coach Renee Lopez. 

Fort Collins

Freshman Rachel Collins made her collegiate debut in the match against Charleston Southern.  The Raleigh, N.C., native recorded nine saves in the first half and finished with 14 saves.  Her 14 saves tied a school-record as she joined Diana Wabnitz, Samantha Spradley and Brittany Daughtry as the only players to accomplish the feat.  Collins is the only freshman to record 14 saves in a single match.  Her 14 saves is also a single-match high in the A-Sun this season.  In the match against Lipscomb (Sept. 26), Collins made eight saves as she helped the Spartans earn their first conference victory of the 2010 season.  It was also the first shutout victory for the first-year Spartan.  She has recorded two other shutouts this season, both 0-0 draws.  Those came at home against Stetson (Oct. 8) and Florida Gulf Coast (Oct. 10).

In 2010, Collins has tallied a total of 103 saves, including a 12-save match against Florida Gulf Coast, a 10-save match against Wofford as well as a pair of nine-save outings against Furman and Gardner-Webb.  Collins leads the conference in both saves and saves per match (6.87).  Collins also ranks third in save percentage (.817), while ranking tied for fourth in shutouts (3) and tied for sixth in shutouts per match (0.20).  In conference matches, Collins leads the way with 47 saves and also ranks first in saves per match (6.71).  She is tied for third in shutouts (3), ranks fourth in shutouts per match (0.43) and sits fourth in save percentage (.825).

Barrow Named as Player to Watch by TopDrawerSoccer

Each season TopDrawerSoccer.com lists its preseason top 20 players to watch in each conference.  This season, Ashlee Barrow was ranked 16th in the list of 20 players from the Atlantic Sun Conference.  The Fishkill, N.Y., native was named to the A-Sun All-Freshman Team in 2009 and has an outstanding preseason to begin her sophomore season.  With her selection to the All-Freshman Team, she became the first Spartan since 2006 and the first since the move to D-I to earn all-conference honors.  Aside from the All-Freshman Team accolades in 2009, Barrow earned All-Academic Team honors from the A-Sun as well as Upstate's Coach's Award and the Wilde Soccer Scholarship. 

Miss Dependable

Senior Catherine Nolff has appeared in every match during her Spartan career.  Nolff, a senior from Columbia, S.C., has appeared in 71 matches and has started 70. Nolff is the all-time D-I era leader for games played and games started.  With her start at Alabama State (9-19-10) she passed Leslie Logwood (2000-03) for third all-time in matches started and sits alone in fourth-place in matches played.

Sweet Sixteen

A total of 16 new players will suit up for the Spartans in 2010.  Gabrielle Fennell (a transfer from Garner-Webb) and Karen Martinez joined the Spartans during the spring.  Of the remaining 14, 12 of the newcomers are freshmen (Kimberley Anderson, Rachel Collins, Rachel Curd, Jessica Jackyra, Erika Kotterer, Kimberly Ledwell, Alyssa Librizzi, Courtney Mack, Kayli Moore, Sarah Plantz, Jessica Voigt and Danielle White).  Julia Harris joins the Spartans after a two-year stint at Spartanburg Methodist College, while Krystal Hedderman comes on board after two years at St. Andrew's Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C.

The Spartanburg Circuit

Mary Rea was named as an assistant women's soccer coach on July 16, 2010 and joined the third and final Spartanburg four-year institution.  Prior to joining the Spartan coaching staff, Rea served as an assistant coach at Converse College during the 2009 season.  Converse is a NCAA Division II institution and is a member of Conference Carolinas. She was a four year letterwinner at Wofford College from 2004-08, where she earned defensive MVP honors as a freshman and team MVP accolades as a junior. Rea, who earned all-academic honors for her hard work in the classroom, was a team captain as a senior.

These Days in History

On today's game date, Oct. 15, these notable events occurred: The War Memorial Opera House opened in San Francisco, Calif. and it was the first municipally-owned opera palace (1932)... "I Love Lucy" debuted on CBS-TV (1951)... The Baltimore Orioles overcame an early deficit as they defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 9-3, to win the World Series in five games (1970)... Chart toppers include: "Sail On" by the Commodores (1979) and "Here I Go Again" by White Snake (1987)... Notable birthdays include: Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer (1945) and Celebrity chef Emril Lagasse (1959).

On this day in Spartan history (Oct. 15), men's soccer player Bob Cheshier records a single-match school-record five assists in Upstate's 9-0 victory at Lander.  Cheshier's five assists still ranks as the best single-match performance in school history (1981).

On today's game date, Oct. 17, these notable events occurred: The first issue of "National Geographic" hit newsstands (1888)... The Pittsburgh Pirates won the 1971 fall classic as they defeated the Baltimore Orioles in seven games (1971)... Chart toppers included: "Yesterday" by the Beatles (1965) and "Ramblin' Man" by The Allman Brothers Band... Notable birthdays include: Country music singer Alan Jackson (1958) and PGA Golfer Ernie Els (1969).

On this day in Spartan history (Oct. 17),  Upstate cross country runner Gilbert Kemboi claims the top spot at the USC Upstate Invitational after posting a time of 24:38.68 (2009).