FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate women's soccer team opened preseason action Saturday afternoon, playing host to Furman University in a soggy scrimmage at County University Stadium.
The Spartans and Paladins went head-to-head in three 30-minute periods and followed the action with a penalty shootout as the two clubs prepare for the 2012 season.
"From where we have come from this past spring I feel like the girls have made a ton of progress," head coach Abby Minihan said following the scrimmage.
"We knew today wouldn't be perfect, but for what we asked them to be responsible for and what we worked on I felt like they executed well."
Upstate's lone goal of the day came 15 minutes into the opening period when A-Sun All-Freshman forward Michelle Calmeyn fired a rocket that found the back of the net. The strike from Calmeyn proved to be the only offense the Spartans could provide on the day.
Furman scored its first goal in the second minute of the opening period on a ball that just crossed the line inside the right post. Upstate stopper Sarah Plantz appeared to make the save in time, but the head referee ruled the attempt a goal.
The Paladins utilized set pieces for their next three goals in the second and third periods to pull away and secure a preseason road win.
"We haven't spent any time on set pieces yet," Minihan said. "They scored three times off set pieces, so realistically it wasn't as if we got beat in the run of play, it was just a lack of awareness on our part."
The new-look Spartans trotted six freshmen starters on the field as the rookies saw their first collegiate action.
"This is a new experience for our freshmen. I think the chemistry is getting better and we are starting to take some steps forward."
Upstate will put a lid on its preseason slate Tuesday evening, traveling to nearby Converse College for an exhibition contest. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.