After coming up with five saves, including one on a penalty kick attempt, to help lead the Spartans to a 2-0 shutout of Jacksonville, USC Upstate goalkeeper Jack Rubin has been named the A-Sun Defensive Player of the Week.
Rubin finished the game against Jacksonville with five saves, three coming in the first half and two in the second. Two of his three saves in the first half were punch out saves on hard shots taken from close range on a cold night. He made the biggest save of the night, and possibly for Upstate’s season, in the second half when he dove to his right to save a penalty kick attempt by JU’s Kacper Grzeszczak in the 51st minute. At the time, the Spartans were leading 1-0 and the potential PK goal would have tied the game. Instead, Rubin made the diving save and Upstate went on to score eight minutes later to put the game away.
Rubin’s performance helped Upstate win its second A-Sun game of the year and clinch a spot in the upcoming A-Sun Tournament Nov. 12-16. With six points, the Spartans are now in fifth place in the league. Rubin finished with his second shutout of the season and has two of the Spartans’ three shutouts this season.
“I am very happy for Jack. In addition to saving a penalty kick, he also made several other key saves. His play was a big factor in us winning the match and qualifying for the A-Sun Tournament,” said Upstate head coach Greg Hooks.
Rubin is the fourth Upstate player to earn weekly honors from the A-Sun this season. Joe Brinckwirth earned player of the year honors on Sept. 15 and just last week, Marvin Schmiege took home player of the week honors and Tucker Beerman was named the defensive player of the week. In fact, it marks the first time since Upstate moved to the A-Sun in 2007 that the Spartans have earned back-to-back weekly honors from the A-Sun in men’s soccer.
Upstate will close out the regular season Saturday night on the road at Florida Gulf Coast in Ft. Myers, Fla. The A-Sun Tournament will be held at the home of the No. 1 seed with FGCU, Stetson and Lipscomb battling to host the tournament.