The USC Upstate men’s soccer team looks to clinch its first-ever berth into the NCAA Tournament Saturday evening as the fourth-seeded Spartans travel to Jacksonville, Fla. to face the second seed North Florida Ospreys at 7 p.m. from Hodges Stadium in the A-Sun Championship game.
Upstate (7-6-1) secured its spot in the championship game last Saturday with a 4-3 overtime victory at top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast. The Spartans recorded their first victory over FGCU in school history as Michelangelo Dovidio scored the golden goal game-winner in the 97th minute, giving Upstate its second straight overtime win in the A-Sun Men’s Soccer Championship. Lukas Sommer, Gordon Wild and Leon Schwarzer also recorded goals in the victory, while Hassan Haddad grabbed four saves.
Wild scored his 16th goal of the season against Florida Gulf Coast and now owns the nation’s scoring lead by one over UC Santa Barbara’s Nick DePuy. The freshman also leads the nation in goals per game, points per game, shots per game and shots on goal per game, and is third in points. Schwarzer ranks ninth nationally in points per game and 21st in goals per game. In the A-Sun, Wild is first in goals and points, and Schwarzer in assists.
North Florida (9-6-1) made it to the championship game courtesy of a 2-1 double-overtime victory last Saturday against Lipscomb in Jacksonville. Helge Pietschmann scored the game-winner for the Ospreys in the 109th minute while Alex Morrell added UNF’s first goal of the match. Pietschmann leads North Florida this season with five goals and Morrell has contributed a team-high 12 points on four goals and four assists. Kyle Nasta has recorded 46 saves while allowing 24 goals in net this season.
Upstate holds an 11-7-1 lead in the all-time series with the Ospreys, but UNF has won the last two meetings including a 2-0 victory in the regular season finale on Oct. 30 in Jacksonville.
Fans can follow the action on www.upstatespartans.com via live stats. The match is being televised on ESPN3. Updates will also be posted on the Upstate men’s soccer Twitter page (@UpstateMSoccer).
Admission to the championship game is $10 for adults, $5 for youth 17 and under, and students with a valid USC Upstate ID get in free of admission. Tickets can be purchased online or on game day at the Hodges Stadium Box Office.