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Oct. 7, 2007
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Troy Simon pounded a shot in from 22 yards out in the 83rd minute to highlight a frenetic final 20 minutes of the game as USC Upstate took a 3-2 victory over Belmont Sunday afternoon in Atlantic Sun Conference men's soccer action at County University Soccer Stadium.
The win was the second in a row for Upstate after dropping its first eight games of the season. It improves the Spartans to 2-8-0 overall and 2-2-0 in the A-Sun. Belmont falls to 3-5-2 overall and 0-2-1 in the league.
Simon's goal was the difference in the game, though it was one of several top plays made in the game by both teams. Upstate goalkeeper Jason McCabe made three dynamic saves early in the first half and the Spartans benefited from Belmont not capitalizing on two scoring opportunities overall in the opening 45 minutes.
Belmont and Upstate played to a draw for most of the first half before a defensive breakdown by the Bruins led to a late goal for Upstate. Nick Buxton took possession of the ball, pushing up from his defender position, and took off down the left sideline. He played a cross into the box where David Stanbra gave a one-touch pass to Jack Burridge who put the ball into the open net from six yards out to give Upstate a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute. Upstate took the lead into the half despite being out-shot by Belmont 11-6 in the opening 45 minutes. McCabe came up huge in the first half, tallying six saves.
After playing the first 25-plus minutes of the second half without a goal scored, Belmont broke through with a goal in the 68th minute. Justin Mooneyhan broke through the Upstate defense and started a 2-on-1 situation with teammate Ian Schinelli and Spartan keeper McCabe. Mooneyhan played a pass to Schinelli after drawing McCabe to the ball and Schinelli put the shot away to tie the game at 1-1.
After nearly nine minutes ticked off the clock, the action picked up again. Belmont's Cyrus Eaton played a cross from the left side of the field into the box where Brett Parker jumped over all Spartan defenders and headed the ball into the upper left 90 to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the 79th minute.
With the momentum on Belmont's side, Upstate quickly turned the momentum back to the Spartans when Chad McCoy played a corner kick into the box. The Bruins cleared the ball, but Landon Fruge' took the ball and rifled a shot through a host of Upstate and Belmont players towards the goal. The ball cleared all of the players and found the back of the net to tie the game at 2-2 in the 82nd minute. Fruge's goal was his second crucial goal in as many games after the freshman from Cypress, Tex., scored the game winner Friday night against Lipscomb.
McCoy started another scoring opportunity for the Spartans a minute later. He gained possession of the ball after Burridge and a Belmont defender got tied up and moved towards the left side of the box. He played a cross to Simon outside of the box on the right side and the senior fired a shot from 22 yards that found the upper right 90 for the game winner.
The match was physical throughout with Belmont being called for 22 fouls and three yellow cards. Upstate was whistled for nine fouls and two yellow cards. Belmont out-shot Upstate 20-10 for the game and held a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks. McCabe finished the game with nine saves, while Belmont keeper Ron Gravely tallied three on the day.