Spartans Upend SMC in Preseason Scrimmage Opener
Spartanburg, S.C. – After falling behind by a goal at halftime, the USC Upstate men's soccer team scored five goals in the second half to storm back for a 6-3 victory over Spartanburg Methodist College in a 90-minute scrimmage at County University Soccer Stadium Tuesday night.
"We responded well in the second half in terms of increasing our level of intensity," said Upstate head coach Greg Hooks, who is a member of the Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame and in his 18th season at the helm of the program. "We had too many mistakes defensively, but that is to be expected with us having just three days of practice under our belts. I am sure we will work those issues out by the next time we play."
Upstate scored first just over 18 minutes into the game when John Collins (Cape Cod, Mass.) fed Dylan Hoop (Hamilton, Ohio) in the box and Hoop put the shot away. However, SMC quickly countered and less than two minutes later, tied the game on Bryan Arruire's goal. Arruire notched the goal after beating a hard-charging Dani Alvarado (Leander, Texas), Upstate's goalkeeper, to the ball at the top of the box. He got just enough power behind the ball and it deflected off of Alvarado and into the net.
SMC took the lead on its second goal in the first half. After Upstate failed to possess the ball and clear it out of its end, Joel Perez gained control of the ball and played a pass into the right side of the box where Arruire put the shot into the left side of the goal to give the Pioneers a 2-1 lead in the 24th-minute.
Upstate tied the match in the 56th-minute when SMC was called for a foul in the box and the Spartans were awarded a penalty kick. Sophomore Dave Musambi (Ottawa, Ontario) took the kick and put the shot into the right side of the net to even the score.
Upstate took the lead in the 67th-minute when Tevin Gage (Valrico, Fla.) was played a long ball. He took the ball down the left side of the box, faked like he was going to drop the ball off and created space, then fired a shot to the right side of the goal to give the Spartans a 3-2 advantage.
Upstate opened a two-goal lead in the 71st-minute when sophomores Dustin Bailey (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) and Eli Cothran (Walhalla, S.C.) combined for a goal. Cothran fed a ball to Bailey in the middle of the field about 25 yards out and Bailey played it back to Cothran on the left side of the box. Cothran put the shot away into the right side of the box to give the Spartans a 4-2 lead.
Less than three minutes later, Upstate struck again. This time, Hoop fed Bailey on the right side and Bailey put the shot away for a 5-2 lead in the 74th-minute. SMC, though, would not go down without a fight and in the 80th-minute Ibo Juhen gained control of a misplayed ball deep in Upstate territory and chipped a shot over Alvarado to get the Pioneers within 5-3.
Upstate got a goal back with just under seven minutes to play when James Hadley (Norwich, England) played a long ball from the back to a sprinting Cothran. Cothran beat his defender and fired a shot into the net to give the Spartans a 6-3 lead, the final advantage.