SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Four years ago, USC Upstate began a journey to join the NCAA Division I ranks and pending approval by the NCAA Board of Governors, Upstate will become an active member of D-I on Sept. 1, 2011. With the transitional phase nearly complete, the media relations office takes a look back at some of the top moments of the transitional phase, today's spotlight, women's soccer.
On July 1, the top 10 moments of the transition were compiled into an online web poll and thanks to the votes of Spartan fans, the final tally is in. Without any further ado, here are the top three moments of the transitional phase for Upstate women's soccer.
Moment No. 3
Collins saves Upstate, Spartans earn a pair of draws against Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast
Oct. 8 & 10, 2010
After allowing a total of eight goals at Jacksonville (Oct. 1) and North Florida (Oct. 3), Rachel Collins (Raleigh, N.C.) looked to redeem herself when Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast made trips to County University Soccer Stadium.
Stetson arrived in Spartanburg sitting in fourth place in the A-Sun at 6-7 overall and 3-2 in league play. Collins was strong between the pipes for Upstate as she tallied five saves and got help from the Spartan back line to thwart two other Hatter shots.
Stetson had a pair of scoring chances in the final two minutes but were unable to put the ball past Collins. Alyssa Welch's shot in the 109th-minute was saved by the rookie goalie, while Tessa Gavilsky's shot with 16 seconds remaining sailed wide resulting in a scoreless draw between the two teams.
Collins kept her shutout streak alive just two days later as she helped Upstate earned a scoreless draw against eventual A-Sun Champion, Florida Gulf Coast. The Spartans fell to the Eagles by a score of 10-0 in 2009, but the 2010 squad was not intimidated.
Collins had her hands full all afternoon due to a strong offensive Eagle attack, but time after time, FGCU came up empty. The Eagles took a total of 25 shots, 13 on-goal with 11 corner kicks. Collins totaled 12 saves in the match and earned her second consecutive shutout.
Her running total of 220 minutes of scoreless soccer earned Collins A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week honors (Oct. 11, 2010). Her weekly award was the first for the women's soccer program since the move to D-I at the beginning of the 2007-08 academic year.
Moment No. 2
Nolff scores twice to lead Upstate to its first ever D-I win
Sept. 1, 2007
In the first Division I game for the Spartans, it was a rookie that came up big for the women's soccer team as Catherine Nolff tallied two goals in Upstate's 5-1 win over South Carolina State at County University Soccer Stadium.
Nolff scored her first collegiate goal and the first of the D-I era for the Spartans in the 43rd-minute to put the Spartans in front, 1-0. Nolff's header off of Carmen Osorio's corner kick found its way into the right side of the goal. Upstate carried a 2-1 lead into the locker room at halftime with the two teams combining for three goals in the final 2:30 of the first half.
Nolff tacked on another goal in the 76th-minute to push the Spartan lead to three goals at 4-1. The Spartans added its final goal of the match in the 82nd-minute to set the final tally at 5-1.
The Irmo, S.C., native was efficient in her debut as she totaled three shots (all on-goal) and finished with two goals. Nolff finished her four-year career ranked second in school-history in matches played (74) and matches started (73). She also finished tied for first (D-I era) in goals (5) and tied for second (D-I era) in points (13).
Moment No. 1
Collins earns All-Freshman honors after a stellar season between the pipes
Oct. 28, 2010
Rachel Collins wrapped up a strong rookie campaign as she became just the second Spartan to earn All-A-Sun Honors (Ashlee Barrow, All-Freshman team, 2009).
In just one season, Collins finds her name etched in the career record books in several different categories. In 2010, Collins helped the Spartans earn a pair of draws against the A-Sun Regular Season Champion, Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson. Collins, who recorded a total of three shutouts, ranks third in school-history in both ties (2) and shutouts. Meanwhile, her 115 saves this season places her fifth in school-history.
In the single-season record books, Collins is tied for first with most ties and is all alone in first-place in the D-I era as the only Spartan to record a tie. She ranks third in school-history in saves, fourth in save percentage (.804) and fifth in both shutouts and saves per match (6.38).
Collins posted a scoreless streak of 295:44 during a four-match stretch from Oct. 3 to Oct. 15. Her shutout streak is the longest for an Upstate keeper since moving to D-I and is the longest since the 2004 campaign, when Diana Wabnitz posted a shutout streak of 407:23 from Sept. 9, 2004 to Oct. 6, 2004.
Collins first collegiate victory came on the road at Alabama State (Sept. 19), she received help from her offense as both Jessica Jackyra (Cary, N.C.) and Danielle White (Calhoun, Ga.) notched a goal in the 2-0 win over the Hornets. Collins made two saves in the match as she played the first half with fellow freshman Sarah Plantz (Cartersville, Ga.) playing the second half.
The media relations office will continue to release the top three moments from each sport leading up to the first athletic competition of the 2011-12 academic year, a women's soccer exhibition match against Spartanburg Methodist College on Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.
Softball (Aug. 11)
Men's & Women's Tennis (Aug. 12)
Men's & Women's Track and Field (Aug. 15)
Volleyball (Aug. 16)