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, men'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 men's soccer.
Moment No. 3
Late rally and Simon's goal lifts Spartans over Belmont
Oct. 7, 2007
Trailing 2-1 with under 10 minutes to play in the match, USC Upstate got goals from Landon Fruge' and Troy Simon to storm back with a 3-2 victory over Belmont to help lead the Spartans to a sweep during the A-Sun weekend.
Coming off a 4-2 victory over Lipscomb just two nights earlier, Upstate was in position to pull off its first-ever A-Sun weekend sweep when Belmont came to town. However, things did not look good for the sweep as time clicked off the game clock. After playing most of the first half to a scoreless tie, Upstate broke through in the 44th-minute when David Stanbra gave a one-touch pass to Jack Burridge who put the ball in the net to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
After playing the first 22 minutes of the second half without a goal, Belmont finally broke through to tie the match at 1-1 in the 68th –minute. Nine minutes later, Brett Parker's header into the net gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
Belmont looked poised to hold onto the lead as the game headed into the final 10 minutes of play in regulation. However, Upstate was not done. After an Upstate corner kick was cleared by the Belmont defense, Fruge' gained control and rifled a shot from 30 yards out that cleared all of the players and found the back of the net to tie the match at 2-2 in the 82nd-minute. Fruge's game-tying goal was his second key goal in as many games after he scored the match-winner in the win over Lipscomb two nights earlier.
With the match tied at 2-2, Upstate's Burridge took the ball down the left side of the box and played a cross to an open Simon. Simon fired a shot from 22 yards out that found the upper right-90 for the game-winning goal in the 83rd-minute.
The sweep of Lipscomb and Belmont pushed Upstate's Simon to earn A-Sun Player of the Week honors, while goalkeeper Jason McCabe earned the league's Defensive Player of the Week award. Simon finished the week with a goal and two assists, while McCabe posted 19 saves in preserving the wins for the Spartans.
Moment No. 2
McCabe records back-to-back shutouts against UNC Asheville and Furman
Sept. 22 & 25, 2010
Upstate goal keeper Jason McCabe, along with the help of the back line, led the Spartans to their first-ever shutout victory of the D-I era with a 1-0 victory over UNC Asheville.
In the 21st-minute, Asheville (2-4-0) had a golden opportunity to tie the match as Bryan Bartels beat McCabe, but a sliding save by John Kadane allowed Upstate to maintain its 1-0 lead.
In the 80th-minute Philipp Soppa headed away a potential scoring chance for Asheville after Connor Holzinger took a corner kick from the right side.
In the 87th-minute, McCabe kept the Spartans in front as he saved J.J. Morrow's shot from the left side. Less than 30 seconds later, McCabe dove and snagged an attempted cross by the Bulldogs.
The final chance for Asheville came at the 89:21 mark when Morrow again tried to tie the match. This time his header sailed wide right and the Spartans were able to maintain possession and earn its first victory of 2010 and improve to 5-0-0 all-time against the Bulldogs.
Against Furman, McCabe tallied two saves as the Paladins totaled 10 shots in 110 minutes of action. The Spartans also recorded a team save to earn the double overtime draw.
McCabe's strong week between the pipes earned him A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week honors. It was the second weekly award for McCabe, who earned the award as a freshman in 2007 after leading the Spartans to back-to-back home victories over Lipscomb (Oct. 5, 2007) and Belmont (Oct. 7, 2007). During that two-match stretch, McCabe recorded 19 saves to help the Spartans earn their first two victories as members of the A-Sun.
Moment No. 1
King pushes Upstate past Clemson, 2-1
Aug. 24, 2010
Exhibition or not, it was the home-standing Spartans that celebrated the victory over the Clemson Tigers. The Tigers' visit marked the first time a squad from the ACC paid a visit to County University Soccer Stadium.
Upstate got on the board first in the 15th-minute when freshman Jan Wienholt scored on Timo Forester's corner kick from the left side.
The Spartans nearly took a 2-0 lead heading to the half when John Collins had his shot ricochet off the top of the crossbar.
After the intermission, Clemson immediately went on the attack taking two shots within the first 1:02. The first shot by Austin Savage was saved by Upstate keeper Jason McCabe. Philipp Soppa was there to block Mackenzie Ward's shot to keep the Spartans in front 1-0.
Clemson scored its lone goal of the match in the 55th-minute when Austin Savage scored after the ball bounced away from keeper Jason McCabe.
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.
Women's Soccer (Aug. 10)
Softball (Aug. 11)
Men's & Women's Tennis (Aug. 12)
Men's & Women's Track and Field (Aug. 15)
Volleyball (Aug. 16)