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Nov. 3, 2007
CLINTON, S.C. - Despite dictating the tempo for most of the game and receiving inspired play by seniors Carter Ridgeway, Troy Simon and David Acosta, the USC Upstate men's soccer team closed out the 2007 season with a 2-1 loss at Presbyterian Saturday night at Martin Stadium.
Upstate ends its season, its first as a member of NCAA Division I and the Atlantic Sun Conference, with a 3-14-0 record. Presbyterian, also playing its first year in NCAA Division I as a member of the Big South Conference, improves to 4-10-2 on the year.
Upstate played some of its best soccer of the year in the first 20 minutes of play. The ball stayed in Presbyterian territory with Upstate moving the ball around for the majority of the first half. Upstate took four shots in the first 30 minutes of play, but the Spartans could not find the back of the net.
The game turned in the latter stages of the first half when Presbyterian found its groove and began to counter attack Upstate. With under 10 minutes to play in the half, Bennett Cope took control of a loose ball 20 yards out and moved to his left. He pounded a shot with his left foot that found the upper right 90, just past a diving Jason McCabe to give PC a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute.
The teams returned to the field after the intermission and PC rode its late first half momentum into the second half of play. The Blue Hose pressured Upstate and the Spartans were unable to put together anything offensively early in the second half.
PC notched its second goal of the game, and the eventual game-winner, in the 57th minute when Jay Stewart found an open Kyle Neely on the left side of the box and Neely put the shot into the net for a 2-0 Blue Hose lead.
Upstate, though, would not give up and cut into the lead in the 68th minute. Chad McCoy gained control of a loose ball and fired a left-footed shot towards the goal. The ball glanced off of a PC defender, causing Blue Hose keeper Mark Owens to misjudge the shot and the ball found the back of the net to cut the PC lead to 2-1.
McCoy's goal, his second of the season, helped sway the momentum back in Upstate's favor. However, the Spartans managed to take just two more shots the rest of the game as PC's defense clamped down. The final shot of the game was Upstate's best chance to score as the Spartans played a cross into the box where Nick Buxton's shot went just wide of the goal with 26 seconds to play.
Presbyterian held the edge in shots, finishing the game with 14 to Upstate's eight. The Blue Hose put seven shots on frame, scoring two and making McCabe record five saves. Upstate put four shots on frame, scoring one and making Owens come up with three saves. Both teams took three corner kicks on the night.