USC Upstate to Honor 1998 Men’s Soccer National Runner-Up Team

USC Upstate to Honor 1998 Men’s Soccer National Runner-Up Team

Spartanburg, S.C. – USC Upstate is set to honor the 1998 men's soccer NCAA Division II national runner-up team on Saturday evening when the Spartans host Presbyterian College at 7 p.m. from County University Soccer Stadium.

This marks the 20th anniversary of USC Upstate's second NCAA Division II runner-up team who also won both the Peach Belt regular season and tournament championships that year. The team will be honored at halftime of Saturday evening's contest.

Under the direction of former head coach, and current USC Upstate Athletics Hall of Famer, Dr. Greg Hooks, the then-Rifles finished with a 23-1 overall record and perfect 7-0 mark against Peach Belt opponents. Known at the time as USC Spartanburg, the Rifles steamrolled to a perfect 17-0 regular season record. Three straight wins in the Peach Belt Tournament gave USC Spartanburg its second straight double-double championships of the regular season and tournament. The perfect season also extended the Rifles' winning streak over Peach Belt opponents to 20.

USC Spartanburg would begin NCAA Division II Tournament play with wins over West Florida and Lynn, and was chosen to host the Final Four for the second time in four seasons. The Rifles defeated Mercryhurst in the semifinals and would host Southern Connecticut State in the championship game at Rifle Field. USC Spartanburg fell in the finals 1-0.

Led offensively by USC Upstate Athletics Hall of Famers Henrik Ronnevig and Khari Sharrieff, the Rifles set a NCAA Division II record that season for winning percentage at .958. Ronnevig compiled 46 points on 12 goals and 22 assists while Sharrieff had 37 points on 15 goals and seven assists. In goal, Jeff Negalha had 55 saves, a 0.71 goals against average and 8.5 shutouts.

Ronnevig, now a Peach Belt Conference Hall of Famer, led the nation in assists and was named First Team All-American, as was Sharrieff. Ronnevig, Sharrieff and Kalle Siira were named All-South Region First Team and Ronnevig, Sharrieff, Siira, Negalha and Rob Mikulski were named Peach Belt All-Conference.

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