Aug. 31, 2008
HIGH POINT, N.C. - In a Sunday afternoon game in High Point, N.C., the USC Upstate women's soccer team fell to the defending Big South champion High Point Panthers, 1-0.
The High Point Panthers used their speed, size and height over the young Upstate squad to beat the Spartans to the ball frequently. Though the half ended in a 0-0 tie, the Panthers had 13 shots and controlled the ball for the majority of the half.
Santana De Freitas had the only shot for the Spartan team in the first half. Senior Carmen Osorio led the offensive attack with three other teammates behind her before giving up the ball to De Freitas on the left side. De Freitas' shot was strong but fell into the hands of High Point goalie, Andrea Ritchie.
The Upstate women were unable to string together key passes and failed to maintain ball possession on offense, yielding many turnovers. The Panthers took advantage of the Spartans' turnovers and shaky first touches, earning six corners and 27 shots throughout the game.
The Spartans started the second half with more energy and composure. The Panthers, however, came out with additional intensity and persistence and were first to the ball on many occasions. They scored a goal only fifteen minutes into the half. A Spartan turnover in the 18-yard box gave way to a shot and goal inside the upper left corner by High Point freshman Lauren Shupe.
Head coach Kendall Reyes spoke optimistically about his team's effort in the second half of play. "After the first half, we focused on our mental composure and our willingness to compete more," Reyes said. "We were getting knocked around physically (in the first half) and we wanted to make the adjustment to be more competitive in the second half and win more balls in the air. It's not an easy game at this level and the road is tough. They kept coming at us and we had to dig deep and fight and battle. Despite our slow start, the team picked it back up in the second half."
The Panthers had many other scoring opportunities throughout the game but Daughtry was regularly in the right place at the right time. She earned 13 saves during the game, including a block in which she jumped to punch the ball up and over the goal.
The Spartans also received penetrating shots by Carmen Osorio and Leigh Ward during the second half. Freshman Jordan Brown was taken out of play after an ankle injury in the second half. The young Spartan team will have nearly two weeks to train and recover before they host the Carolinas Border Classic on Sept. 12.
"Overall, we're a much better team than we were last year across the board. We can use and depend on our bench players who provide us with additional depth. We are playing a tougher schedule this year and we don't measure just by results. We want to compete against the top teams and earn our wins."
The Spartans fall to 1-2 on the season. They have yet to play a conference game, opening up Atlantic Sun competition in Florida on the weekend of Sept. 26.