The USC Upstate men’s soccer team battled the Stetson Hatters to a 0-0 draw Wednesday evening from County University Soccer Stadium to earn a point in the overall conference standings heading into the final two matches of the season.
Upstate moves to 5-4-1 overall and 1-1-1 in the A-Sun, while Stetson sits at 4-8-2 on the season and 0-3-1 in conference play.
Defense led the way in the first half with both teams combining for just three shots and none coming on-goal. The Spartans attempted all three shots in the opening half with Gordon Wild taking two of them.
Upstate looked to head into halftime with momentum as it posted two scoring chances in the final five minutes. Lukas Sommer began things in the 41st minute courtesy of a lob pass over the Hatter defense from Leon Schwarzer. Sommer took his shot after the first bounce but went high of the net. Wild followed in the 43rd minute after a cross from the far side by Joshua Jenkins. Wild attempted a quick shot inside the 18-yard box but saw it go just left of the goal.
The second half saw more opportunities on offense with both teams creating solid chances within a 25-minute span. The Spartans looked to strike first in the 52nd minute on Wild’s through ball to Heiko Allmendinger leaving him one-on-one with a Stetson defender. His shot was blocked, however, and went out of play. Wild again had a chance just over a minute later as his shot was saved by Hatter goalie Paul Ladwig. Francis Gyau crossed the ball back into the middle of the field near side to Schwarzer who immediately passed it to Wild. He quickly flipped the ball over several Stetson defenders for his attempt from 15 yards out.
Daniel O’Brien provided the Hatters with two of their best chances of the match in the 76th and 77th minutes. O’Brien received a pass far side directly in front of Upstate goalie Hassan Haddad and had his first shot saved as Haddad was falling to the ground. O’Brien quickly tried another shot while on the ground from five yards away but Haddad denied him again.
Neither team had any scoring opportunities during the first overtime period, but provided several prospects in the second.
Haddad stepped up big again for the Spartans in the 103rd minute with his third, and final, save of the match off an attempt by Jeppe Moe. Moe beat an Upstate defender inside the 18-yard box and received a cross from the far side. Haddan held Stetson scoreless after making a diving save going to his right.
Wild had two more chances in a three-minute window to send the Spartans home with a victory. In the 105th minute, his free kick from 23 yards away went just over the crossbar. The freshman came back in the 107th minute off a cross from Calon Minors 13 yards out, but his header floated high of a leaping Ladwig.
Haddad finished the match with three saves for Upstate while Wild attempted seven shots, including one on-goal, to lead all players.
O’Brien and Patrick Jackson each had two shots for the Hatters, and Ladwig added one save.
The Spartans host Florida Gulf Coast Saturday evening at 7 p.m. in their Coaches vs. Cancer Game. A signed soccer ball will be raffled off during the match. It is also Senior Day for Upstate as it will recognize its seniors prior to the game.