Oct. 1, 2007
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. - When Upstate takes to the field Friday and Sunday against Lipscomb and Belmont, it will do so against teams the men's soccer team has never played before. Both games will be available on ASun.TV.
Lipscomb is led by Miguel DaSilva. DaSilva has scored four points on a pair of goals for the Bisons. Lipscomb is currently 1-5-1 overall and 0-0-1 in the A-Sun. Justin Mooneyhan leads Belmont in scoring with nine points on four goals and an assist. The Bruins are currently 3-3-2 overall and 0-0-1 in the A-Sun. Belmont has not had a problem scoring this season and has totaled 10 goals on 12 assists.
Recapping Last Week
USC Upstate hit the road for its sixth and seventh road games of the season last week. The week was also historic for the Spartans as Upstate played its first ever Atlantic Sun Conference games in men's soccer. Despite history being made, the Spartans went 0-2 on the week, losing 1-0 to North Florida Friday night and 4-1 to Jacksonville Sunday afternoon.
North Florida scored in the 59th minute to break open a scoreless game that was marked by solid defense and strong goalkeeping by both keepers. Upstate had its chances to score in the game, including missing an open net opportunity, but the Ospreys held on for the win in a battle between two former Peach Belt Conference rivals.
Upstate and Jacksonville renewed a rivalry that dated back to the Spartans' first ever varsity soccer season in 1980. The Dolphins got the better of the Spartans in 1980 and did so again Sunday with a 4-1 victory on three goals and an assist from Sebastian Lindholm.
Hooks an Accomplished Field Leader
USC Upstate head coach Greg Hooks has had an accomplished 20-year coaching career. He has a career record of 271-77-23 with coaching stints at Spartanburg Methodist (1985), Lees-McRae (1986-87), University of Charleston (1991-94), and USC Upstate (1995-present). He started the programs at both Lees-McRae and University of Charleston, leading both programs to national rankings. He took over the Upstate program in 1995 and coached the team to an appearance in the NCAA Division II National Championship game and returned the team to the title game in 1998. He has led Upstate to 184 victories, five Peach Belt Conference regular season championships, six Peach Belt Conference Tournament titles, and five NCAA Tournament appearances. Hooks ended his reign in NCAA Division II as the division's second winningest coach all-time and currently ranks 20th all-time in the history of the NCAA, regardless of division standing.
Spartans Looking for First Win of the Season
USC Upstate is off to a new start in NCAA Division I and the reclassification has not come easy for the Spartans' men's soccer team. Upstate has started the season 0-8-0 for the first time in school history and is looking for its first win of the season this week when the team hosts to Lipsomb on Friday and Belmont on Sunday. Both games will be broadcast on ASun.TV.
Spartan Soccer - A Story of Success
While the USC Upstate Athletics Department has had a storied history of success throughout its existence, the men's soccer program has achieved success on a more consistent level than any other program at the University. Upstate men's soccer finished third in the NAIA National Tournament three straight years from 1983-85 and made 10 NCAA Tournament appearances in 16 years in the NCAA Division II. The Spartans claimed seven regular season Peach Belt Conference championships, nine Peach Belt Conference Tournament titles, and advanced to the championship game of the league tournament 14 times in 16 years.
The Young and the Restless
USC Upstate returns a core group of players to the 2007 squad, however, the team will be marked by its youth. Of the 16 first-year players in the program, 15 are freshmen. Not only is the team young, it also has another battle to contend with - international acclimation. Half (eight) of the newcomers come from other nations and not only have to adjust quickly to soccer on the collegiate level, but also life in the United States.
Going for 400
With Upstate's next win comes a major milestone in the history of the program, 400 wins. The Spartans own an all-time record of 399-122-84, having started the program in 1980. Upstate has never posted a losing season in 27 years with the 1990 squad claiming the worst record at 9-8-1. The 1998 team finished with a 23-1-0 record for the best record in school history.
Former Spartans Earn Accolades
Upstate men's soccer players are no strangers to individual accolades. Two former players recently achieved high levels of success. Former goalkeeper Ryan Cooper (2005-06) was the starting goalkeeper for the Laredo Heat squad that won the 2007 PDL championship. Cooper was an All-America selection in 2006 for the Spartans after leading the Peach Belt Conference with a 0.47 goals against average and the nation with an .887 save percentage. Former Spartan great Ricky Charles was recently inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Hall of Fame. Prior to attending Upstate, Charles was an All-American at Bryant & Stratton where he led the team to a national championship his sophomore year after finishing second his freshman season.
Spartans Picked 7th in A-Sun
Upstate was picked to finish seventh in its first season in the Atlantic Sun Conference in the preseason coaches poll released by the league. The Spartans received 41 points to finish ahead of Lipscomb, North Florida, and Florida Gulf Coast in the poll. Campbell received three first-place votes and 88 total points and is the team picked to win the conference championship.
Buxton Receives Preseason Honors
Junior defender Nick Buxton was a preseason All-Conference selection by the A-Sun coaches. The Towcester, England, native was an All-Conference and All-Region selection last year for the Spartans. Although a defender, he finished as the fifth leading scorer on the team with nine points on three goals and three assists.