After a long summer vacation (for some), school is finally back in session, and you know what that means. If you guessed the return of Georgia State athletics, then you were 100 percent correct. The sports scene around Georgia State is starting to heat up, and if you’ve been paying attention, then you know about everything that has been going on in the world of Georgia State Sports.
One of the most underrated changes that no one has talked much about lately is the switch from Nike to Under Armour. The deal was made last year after football season, but now all sports will be sponsored by Under Armour. So on game days, you can now look for the Under Armour U on the jerseys of the players.
Now on the stuff that matters, here are some things that you can look forward to this school year when it comes to Panther Athletics:
Georgia State Stadium:
It’s been talked about for a few years now, and the wait is finally over. After years of playing at the Georgia Dome, the Panthers have a place to call home. The first game will be on Aug. 31, 2017, against Tennessee State University. Although there was the fan fest/scrimmage game, and some high school football games played there, the Panthers’ kick-off game will officially start the new era of the Georgia State Stadium. It will also mark the beginning of the Shawn Elliott era at Georgia State. There is a lot to look forward to when the season officially gets rolling.
Football is the only sport that people think of when it comes to fall sports, but it’s just one of the nine teams who will be participating in the fall season. Men’s and women’s golf, soccer, and tennis, as well as volleyball and cross country make up the other eight.
There is a lot of excitement around the men’s golf and tennis teams because they both won Sun Belt Championships during last spring semester. While they won’t be competing in conference play during the fall, it should be interesting to see how they follow up their championship runs during the spring semester.
Homecoming week is one of the most exciting weeks of the school year – not only because of the long-awaited for football game- but because of all the festivities of the week. The parade, the game, and the tailgates are just some of the most exciting events. The homecoming football game will be on Oct. 21 hoested at our very own and brand new stadium, against Troy’s Trojans, a formidable opponent. The Panthers have lost their two previous homecoming games before defeating UT- Martin last year 31-6.Hopefully, the Panthers can extend their homecoming winning streak to two years… because no one wants to lose on homecoming. And if you’re way too eager to keep count of the days until then, Georgia State has already set up a count-down timer until the day of the game.
Last year Georgia State dominated Georgia Southern in sports, winning the school-long series 18-4. Georgia Southern’s wins came in men’s soccer, volleyball, men’s basketball and community service. Georgia State took advantage of the other 18 opportunities it had for victories against Georgia Southern. The rivalry between the two in-state schools ramped up when Georgia Southern joined the Sun Belt Conference back in July 2014. For Georgia State, it is always good to get a win against Georgia Southern no matter what it may be.
Teams to keep an eye out for:
The football and basketball team get most of the publicity around campus, and understandably so: they are two of the most popular sports in America. But other teams should be getting your attention this new season, so here’s a list to get you excited:
The team with the most to prove this season is the men’s soccer team. They have lost two years back-to-back in the Sun Belt tournament, and after a 14-8 season, and returning all but four players from last year, an expectation for a championship still remains. They will once again be one of the better teams in the conference and will have a good chance of winning a championship and making the NCAA tournament.
The reigning Sun Belt Conference champions will start the defense of their title in the fall before the conference season starts in the springtime. This team will look at a lot different from the we last saw during the spring. The Panthers lost their top six players from last year’s championship match. The Panthers will have such a different look to them; it will be interesting see how they perform during the fall and to see if they can recapture the magic they had last season and repeat as conference champions.
Women’s Tennis: Last season the Panthers had a pretty decent year going 13-9 after winning the Sun Belt Championship during the 2015 season. Despite not winning the championship again, the team still performed well and made it to the second round of the Sun Belt tournament. They return all but one player from last years team, so they have a chance to be even better this year.
Players to look out for:
There are some very talented players who put on Georgia State Uniforms wherever they go out to perform, but a lot of them don’t get their due, so here are some highlights:
Chandon Sullivan & Jerome Sullivan– These two players are one of the top cornerback tandems in the country, and the best in the Sun Belt Conference, according to Pro Football Focus.
Hannes Burmeister- Burmeister is a junior from Bentwisch, Germany. Last season he led the team with 11 goals, and had two hat tricks. He was also tabbed to the All-Sun Belt first team after the 2016 season and named to the preseason All-Sun Belt team this season.
Fall sports season is here, and with every team getting into the full swing of things during the middle of September, fall should be a fun time around Georgia State.