Aug. 29, 2008
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The USC Upstate women's soccer team battled until the entire game, not yielding a goal until there was eight minutes left, but dropped a tough 1-0 decision to College of Charleston Friday night at Country University Soccer Stadium.
With the non-conference loss, the Spartans fall to 1-1 on the season as the Cougars improve to 3-0.
College of Charleston controlled the ball and pace of the game for the majority of the first half, earning twelve shots and four corner kicks. They put together several strings of succinct and controlled passes, but were unable to translate them into goals. Upstate fought to keep the ball out of their home territory as the Spartan defenders and midfielders stayed busy throughout the game.
The first half was marked by several Spartan goalkicks after missed goal opportunities and mishandles by the Cougar offense. Goalkeeper Brittany Daughtry made a crucial save off midfielder Hannah Gmerke's shot, which Daughtry dove to retrieve after it had been deflected in front of the net.
Sophomore Meg Korpita earned her first start of the 2008 season, after recovering from arthroscopic surgery over the summer. However, an injury forced her out of the first half early as the Spartans continued to fight off the Cougars. Junior captain, Liz Pontillo, displayed her defensive expertise and experience with a sliding kick to get the ball out of the 18-yard box with 30 seconds left in the first half.
Both teams came out strong in the second half as the first 20 minutes was a competitive game with a constant change of possession. The Cougars had a near scoring attempt on a corner kick within the first five minutes but the Spartan defense was able to clear the ball out.
Senior Megan Manthey scored the lone goal of the game with eight minutes left to play for the College of Charleston. The skilled senior and Colorado native recovered the rebound after a deflected shot on goal and caught Daughtry off balance. The Spartans tried to even the score for the remainder of the half but came up short.
"College of Charleston is a very good team," Head Coach Kendall Reyes stated. "We fought to match up with them and I'm very proud of the effort we gave. I thought we did an excellent job of battling through the entire game. That's what I want from them. The thing we need to focus on is generating more opportunities in the attack so we can score more goals and put the other team on the defensive end a little more."
Reyes was proud of his team's effort and hard work throughout the game. "Across the board, everyone made a significant contribution on the field. We're not rolling over anyone but we're going to fight until the end. No team is going to beat us; they're going to have to earn it. I like that about the tempo of the team. Everyone's willing to give 100 percent." The Spartans resume play on Sunday, Aug. 31, as they travel to High Point University for a 2:00 p.m. non-conference matchup against the Panthers.