College Update: History Made in Opening Weeks
While World Cup Qualifiers have been filling up the news over the last week (the U.S. continues to be the reason I have high blood pressure), college soccer has had its fair share of breakouts over the last week, with some outstanding performances from some players, while others were out making school history. While it is still early, it goes without saying that the season is starting to heat up, and it is only September.
Georgia State Records Biggest Upset in School History
Coming off a 1-0 loss to #11 Louisville, few favored Georgia State to pull off, arguably, the largest upset of the new season on the road against #2 Wake Forest. Going up against a historically very strong team in the Demon Deacons, the Panthers had to bring their A-game if they hoped to have a fighting chance. Head coach Brett Surrency put out the best lineup he could form, one which included three players who recorded minutes with Peachtree City MOBA last season in Salomon Lorenzano, Lukas Joyner, and Javen Palmer. Former MOBA defender Nick Hague also started for Surrency. After an opening sixty minutes of scoreless soccer, it was the Panthers who got on the board first, as Hannes Burmeister buried a penalty in the sixty-first minute. With an unbelievable upset within arm's reach, Deacon Luis Argudo scored a penalty of his own less than five minutes later to pull things level. The lead was gone, but the hearts were not, and after ninety minutes, the scores remained even. Heading into overtime, the impossible surely seemed possible, and Panther Rashid Alarape made sure of it when he slotted home a loose ball in the ninety-second minute to put the Panthers up for good. A victory over #2 Wake Forest is not just the largest upset in GSU men's soccer history (the Panthers knocked off #6 Clemson in 2001), but it is also tied for the largest upset over all GSU sports with the softball team's upset of #2 Alabama in 2012. The Panthers look to continue their good form when they take on Lipscomb on September 9th in Nashville.
Williams, Reinhardt Takes Brescia for an Eight-Goal Ride
After a rough 0-2-1 start to the year where they gave up seven goals to opposing sides, the Reinhardt Eagles surely went into their home match against Brescia University on September 2nd with a chip on their shoulder, and it showed. After giving up an eighth minute opener to Doodlyn Colas, the Eagles struck back in the eleventh when Jordan Williams, an early season contributor for MOBA in 2017, buried his first of the match in the eleventh. The Eagles weren't done, however, as just minutes later, Williams struck again to put Reinhardt up 2-1. Before long, things got very out of hand for the Bearcats, as goals from Aaron Whitten, Matthew Gray, and Williams' MOBA teammate Todd Fidler made it 5-1 just thirty-five minutes in. Brescia were able to pull one back with Kerby Edme's goal in the thirty-seventh, but Kevin Sosa quickly nullified that goal, and Jordan Williams added a third to complete his hat trick right before halftime, and the Eagles went into the break up 7-2. The second half was a bit less exciting, however, as there was just one goal for each side, but nevertheless, the Eagles were able to record their first win of the year in emphatic fashion.
Avery, Georgia Southwestern Rolling Early
One of the lesser known members of the 2017 MOBA roster, defender Chris Avery was a player who took advantage of the minutes he received. Playing in just four league matches for the yellow and black, Avery, a favorite among those within the MOBA organization, was consistently one of the fastest players on the pitch, and helped keep opposing teams off the scoreboard in the later parts of the match. A Sandy Creek graduate, Avery headed back to Georgia Southwestern to join up with the Hurricanes for his junior season after being a significant contributor during his previous years. Playing in each of the team's three matches, Avery has been a key role player, doing the exact same job he did for MOBA. Through three games, the Canes have only conceded three goals, and only one of those has come after the seventieth minute mark, an eighty-fourth minute consolation goal for Milligan College with Georgia Southwestern already up three. With the Canes sitting at a very comfortable 2-0-1, the schedule doesn't look easy for the rest of September, with most of the Canes' matches coming on the road, building up to an October 11th road date with the Clayton State Lakers.
Image Courtesy: Georgia State University, Reinhardt University, Peachtree City MOBA