Haley Gethin scored three goals to lead USC Upstate to a 5-0 victory over The Citadel Sunday afternoon from County University Soccer Stadium.
Gethin became only the fourth Spartan in school history to score three goals in a game, and her six points are tied for the third-most in school history. Teammate Kenzie Major was the last Spartan with a hat trick, scoring four goals last season in a victory at South Carolina State.
“It felt great to help the team pick up a win after a difficult loss on Friday,” Gethin said. “We came out today determined to be more aggressive and put together a strong offensive attack. My goal is to always help the team win in any way I can.”
Spartan defender Alexa Hone put the Spartans ahead early in the 18th minute when she netted her first career goal. Hone dribbled down the sideline and cut towards the goal before firing a shot to the far post that sailed over the hands of a leaping Abby Koger.
Gethin registered her first goal minutes later with a shot that beat Koger in the 22nd minute. Major played a through ball near midfield that found Gethin sprinting towards The Citadel goal. Gethin gained possession in stride, dribbled into the box and struck the ball into the back corner of the net.
The scoring onslaught continued in the 26th minute when Gethin posted her second goal of the game to put Upstate ahead 3-0. Freshman Kate Winegarner sent a cross from the far corner into the Bulldog box where Gethin blasted a shot past Koger far post.
“My teammates played a huge role in all three of my goals today,” Gethin added. “They set me up with some unbelievable passes that gave me an opportunity to convert our scoring chances. This was definitely a total team effort today.”
Gethin hooked up with Rachel Baylor in the 55th minute to complete the hat trick and put the Spartans ahead 4-0 in the process. With Upstate controlling possession on the Bulldogs’ end of the field, Baylor turned to her right and sent a pass towards the middle of the field to a streaking Gethin outside the box. Gethin dribbled past one defender and pushed a shot over Koger who left her post to charge towards the ball.
“I am so proud of our effort and our ability to finish today,” USC Upstate head coach Abby Minihan said. “We are getting so much better each game and we are putting ourselves in positions to be successful on the field. I look forward to another week of practice as we move into the second week of the season.”
Winegarner collected her third point of the game with an unassisted goal in the 74th minute. After a failed clear by The Citadel defense, Winegarner corralled the loose ball and sent a shot over Koger to give Upstate its largest margin of victory since downing Alabama State 6-0 in 2011.
Upstate keeper Ellen Bright registered two saves to record her third career shutout.
Upstate returns to the field Friday at 5 p.m. when the Spartans host Alabama State to begin a doubleheader that will feature the men’s team facing UNC Asheville at 7:30 p.m.