Spartanburg, S.C. - USC Upstate open A-Sun play at home this weekend, playing host to Lipscomb Friday night at 7:00 before hosting Belmont Sunday afternoon at 2:00. Both matches will be played at County University Soccer Stadium.
Upstate enters the weekend with a 3-4-0 overall record after dropping a 2-1 decision at No. 23 Furman Tuesday night. The Spartans are riding a two-game winning streak at home. Lipscomb enters the weekend with a 1-7-2 record and have not won since a 1-0 victory over VMI on Sept. 9. Belmont stands 4-5-0 on the year and faces ETSU Thursday night.
Upstate is 1-3-0 all-time against Lipscomb in a series that dates back to the 2007 season. The Spartans won the initial meeting, but have dropped the last three contests to the Bisons. Upstate is 2-2-0 all-time against Belmont in a series that also dates back to the 2007 season. The Spartans are 2-0-0 at home against the Bruins and 0-2-0 on the road.
Looking Back at No. 23 Furman
USC Upstate allowed a goal in each half and despite getting a late goal by Chad McCoy, his first of the year and the first since the 2008 season, fell to 23rd-ranked Furman Tuesday night at Stone Stadium in Greenville. Furman scored just 1:20 into the match and led, 1-0, at halftime. Upstate's Dave Musambi had a couple of solid scoring opportunities in the first half, but couldn't convert. The Paladins made it a 2-0 game with a goal in the second half before McCoy cut into the deficit on a header with 54 seconds to play.
Lipscomb enters the weekend with a 1-7-2 overall record and will open A-Sun play against the Spartans Friday night. The Bisons have not reached the win column since a 1-0 victory over VMI on Sept. 9. They have gone 0-3-2 since the victory over the Keydets, losing to Georgia Southern, Eastern Illinois and SIU-Edwardsville, while tying IPFW and Bowling Green.
Garret Pettis is a seasoned veteran and leads Lipscomb in scoring with three goals and six points on the year. Nick Bibb is second in scoring with four points an two goals, while Kyle Erickson leads the team with two assists. In all, eight different Bisons have scored this season. Lipscomb allows two goals and 5.9 points per game. Brent McGee leads the Bisons' goalkeeper effort, playing 895 minutes on the year. He has made 40 saves and owns a 1.91 goals against average.
Belmont plays at ETSU Thursday night and will enter Sunday's match against Upstate with an A-Sun game under its belt. The Bruins enter Thursday night with a 4-5-0 record and will open A-Sun play at ETSU. They are on a two-game losing streak after dropping games to SIU-Edwardsville and Evansville. Prior the the two-game skid, Belmont owned a three-game winning streak with wins over VMI, Bowling Green and IPFW.
Belmont averages 1.7 goals and 4.7 points per game, while allowing opponents to score 1.9 goals and 5.4 points per contest. Brandon Tarr is well on his way to earning postseason honors in the conference by leading the Bruins with 11 points on five goals and an assist. Nico Olsak is second on the team in scoring with nine points on two goals and a team-high five assists. Lou Manning leads the goalkeepers for the Bruins, tallying 45 saves and a 1.93 goals against average for the year.
Looking Back at 2010
Upstate took to the interstate and traveled to Nashville, Tenn., last year to face Lipscomb and Belmont. The Spartans returned to Spartanburg with a pair of losses after taking a 1-0 loss at Lipscomb and a 4-1 loss at Belmont. Mauirce Beggs scored the only goal for the Spartans during the weekend.
McCoy Finds the Back of the Net
When fifth-year senior Chad McCoy found the back of the net with a header with 54 seconds to play in Upstate's 2-1 loss at No. 23 Furman (Sept. 23), it marked his first goal since scoring the third goal for Upstate in the 3-1 win over Mercer on Oct. 25, 2008. McCoy missed large amounts of time in his career due to various leg injuries and received a fifth year of eligibility by the NCAA. He has returned for a fifth season in 2011 and made an impact in the Furman game with his goal late in the game. In 2008, he ranked third on the team in scoring with six points on three goals.
Playing a Tough Schedule
The fact that Upstate has played 36 games decided by one goal in four-plus years is a testament to the strong schedule the Spartans have played in Division I and how close they are to the strong competition they have faced. The schedule has certainly not been easy this season. Counting the Furman game from Tuesday night, Upstate has played two Top 25-ranked teams in its first seven games of the season. The Spartans played VCU on Sept. 11 when the Rams were ranked 16th in the nation. Furman is currently ranked No. 23 in the latest NSCAA Top 25 poll. The Spartans also play A-Sun foe ETSU on Oct. 29. The Buccaneers are ranked No. 24 in the NSCAA poll.
Tracking the One-Goal Games
Upstate has had a tough time dealing with one-goal decisions throughout its Division I era which began in 2007. Just last season, the Spartans dropped six games by a single goal. This season, Upstate is 2-3-0 in one-goal decisions. The Spartans dropped a 2-1 game against Wofford (Aug. 29) to open the season and took a 1-0 victory over Southern Wesleyan (Sept. 5). Upstate has also taken a 1-0 loss to George Washington (Sept. 11) in the Coastal Carolina Classic. Upstate took a 1-0 victory over VMI (Sept. 18) and lost a 2-1 decision at No. 23 Furman (9/27).
Since joining Division I in 2007, Upstate has played 36 matches which were decided by one goal. The Spartans own a 10-26 record in those contests. In 2009 alone, Upstate had 11 games decided by one goal with the Spartans winning four times.
Upstate Strong at Home
Since opening County University Soccer Stadium with a 1-0 victory over Colorado School of Mines and former Upstate head coach and current Athletics Hall of Fame member Frank Kohlenstein in 2001, the Spartans have enjoyed playing in the friendly confines of County University Soccer Stadium. Upstate has played 97 matches in the facility and have won 62 times. The Spartans own a 62-28-7 overall record in the stadium, a record that has included hosting Peach Belt and NCAA Division II National Tournament games. Their winning percentage is .674 in 11 years in the stadium. The Spartans play seven regular season games at County University Soccer Stadium in 2011.