Camels fall to Spartans in preseason opener

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Campbell women's soccer dropped its first exhibition match of the year 1-0 to USC Upstate Sunday night at a rain soaked County Stadium in Spartanburg S.C. The preseason match was split into three 30 minute periods.

The Spartans' Haley Gethin split the Camel defense and beat junior goalkeeper Alexis Conners high to give Upstate the lead in the 26th minute. The Camels had their chances, including a 6-1 corner kick advantage, but were not able to equalize.

"I thought we started off rusty, we're still trying to get all the kinks out," head coach Stuart Horne said. "The goal in the first period was not a great goal. It was just a combination of break downs. Credit to Upstate because they scored the goal, but we probably got four assists on that goal.

"We kind of settled down after that. Second period was better than the first, third period I thought we were really starting to hit our stride. I really wish we had a fourth period."

Sophomore midfielder Christine Kindt's lone shot on goal with less than ten minutes to play was the closest chance for the Camels. Redshirt-junior forward Ashley Clark slid a pass to Kindt in the box but the defense was quick to the ball, cutting yet another chance for Campbell.

"It kind of just went through two people and I tried to get it through, but the goalie came out," Kindt said. "It was just me and the goalie, and I dove for it but it hit her and there was a bit scrum in the box. I tried to get it in, but it just didn't go in."

Freshman forward Claire Allen nearly recorded her first collegiate goal, juking out the Upstate goalkeeper and sneaking the ball in behind, but a Spartan defender slid just in time to deflect the ball out for a corner. The combination of Allen and fellow freshman forward Haley Lindsay accounted for two scoring chances from left wing crosses.

The Camels pushed the ball, keeping a high tempo in Sunday's match but was often hindered by offside calls, as the team went on to compile seven; Clark was called for back-to-back offsides in the final period. Upstate stayed disciplined for 90 minutes, not earning an offside call.

"Before the game everyone was really excited; I would say that some people had some of the nervous butterflies," Kindt said. "We didn't play an eleven versus eleven before, so it was interesting to see the different parts that we're working on come together as a whole. It just needs to get better, and it will get better during the rest of the preseason and playing together."

Campbell was on its heels early as Upstate outshot the Camels 3-1 in the first period. The Spartans finished the game with a 7-6 shot advantage.

Clark led the team with two shots; Kindt, Lindsay, Allen and sophomore midfielder Kine Thorsvik each recorded one shot.

Goalkeepers Samantha Lawson, Kelsey Rhoderick and Conners all received equal playing time, playing 30 minutes apiece Sunday night.  

Campbell will travel to Florence, S.C. to face Francis Marion this Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Camels will host Mount Olive on Aug. 18 to round out their postseason.

"It was progressively getting better, that's something we've been preaching all preseason," Horne said. "It's a process, just get better each time and we did that tonight."