Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's soccer team opens its 2014 season this weekend when the Spartans travel to Charleston, S.C., to battle The Citadel Friday at 4 p.m. before hosting UNC Asheville in the home opener Sunday at 1 p.m. from County University Stadium.
Upstate enters the regular season coming off a successful preseason that saw the Spartans post a 1-0-1 record in exhibition matches against Campbell and Davidson. Upstate defeated Campbell 1-0 behind a goal from junior midfielder Haley Gethin and a combined three saves from Ellen Bright and Brooke Bailey.
The Spartans went on to play to a 0-0 draw at Davidson following another strong performance by the Upstate defense. Junior Kenzie Major registered a game-high five shots and is expected to serve as one of the offensive catalysts this season. Major finished 2013 tied for the team lead with six points on two goals and two assists.
USC Upstate and The Citadel will be meeting for the first time since 2011 when the two schools hookup Friday from Washington Light Infantry Field. The Bulldogs own a 2-1 record in the all-time series that dates back to the 2007 season.
"We are looking forward to a competitive game Friday when we open the season at The Citadel," Upstate head coach Abby Minihan said. "We played them to a draw last season, so we have a lot of confidence that this will be another competitive game."
The Spartans will be in search of their first-ever win over UNC Asheville Sunday in the home opener. The Bulldogs are 2-0-0 all-time against Upstate and posted a 2-0 win over the Spartans last season in Spartanburg. UNC Asheville opens its season Friday at home against Chattanooga.
"UNC Asheville is a solid team that really outworked us last year," Minihan said. "My hope is that we can rise to the occasion in our first home match and capitalize on some of the things we have been working on in practice."
Minihan is a perfect 2-0-0 in season openers as head coach of the Spartans, posting a 1-0 win at VMI in 2012 and a 2-1 victory at home against VMI last season.