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Panthers win 6 straight matches for the first time in 31 years

The Georgia State men’s soccer team trained on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at the GSU Soccer Complex. Photo by Chris Young | The Signal

The men’s soccer team shut out Mercer 1-0 last Saturday night to extend their current victory streak to six games. This gives them the fourth longest active winning streak in NCAA Division I soccer, trailing only Air Force, Indiana and Wake Forest.

“No distinct adjustments only continued improvement,” head coach Brett Surrency said regarding the team’s plans moving forward. “I like our group and think if we can improve within our current structure we will compete for the SBC title.”

Alex Summerfield chipped in the only goal of the match over the goalkeeper in the 20th minute of Saturday’s competition against the Bears.

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The men’s soccer team is now 6-2-0 after last week’s victories against Belmont, Presbyterian and Mercer.

“We have really come together as a group and we all have our eyes on the same thing, which is just winning that next game,” senior midfielder Lukas Joyner said. “That’s easy to say while on a 5-game winning streak but I know we all have our minds in the right spot knowing the importance of each and every game.”

The Panthers dropped the first two matches of the season but have won every game since, continuously improving and winning with teamwork.

“One of the big things for us were those first two tough losses,” Joyner said. “Yes, without a doubt we want those games back, and I think if we played them again there would be different results but we know how good we are and that was not the season we wanted so it really pushed us to get that first win.“

The Panthers are scoring a lot and sharing the wealth, with four different players scoring goals against Presbyterian and three players with an assist. Coach Surrency was happy with his team’s ability to immediately bounce back after dropping their first two matches.

“I believe we are in a good place after a slow start. Getting positive results but yet understanding we can still be much better and need to be to reach our desired championship levels,” Surrency said. “Any given game a different player can rise to the occasion and that’s a comforting feeling. We have a lot of talented guys in the group and it seems like each game someone new steps up.”

This year’s roster also has a lot of new faces. There are 10 freshmen that have had to hit the ground running in a talented program.

“The play from the freshmen has been good,” Joyner said. “They have come in with a lot of talent, energy and immediately merged with all the boys. We had a good group of returners and the freshmen have only made that group better. We have a very good team, which makes for competitive practices which is what you want.”

Their next match is against Santa Clara on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. at the GSU Soccer Complex.

The women’s soccer team has lost the last six games, leaving them at 2-8-1. The women lost the first two conference matchups at home and dropped one on the road against Little Rock.

Little Rock scored in the last 10 minutes of the match to go up 1-0 on Friday night. For the fourth time this season the Panthers had more shots on target than their opponent, yet came away with a loss. The Panthers had seven shots on target to Little Rock’s four.

Head coach Ed Joyce said the team is working on tightening up in transition and getting more of their shots into the net.

The program is also still trying to define itself with 15 freshmen on the roster and a fairly new coaching staff. Joyce is only in his second year as head coach after serving as assistant coach for the men’s soccer team from 2010 to 2014. Assistant coaches Joe Tedesco and Amanda Bruemmer both started in 2017.

“We have been really good in possession so far which is really positive for such a young group. Defensively, we have been pretty good so far but just have to stay a bit sharper for the entire 90 minutes,” Joyce said. “We are a really close-knit group that have come together nicely as we enter Sun Belt play. They are really focused on the process and improving with each passing day.”

Their position in the conference tournament will be determined by seven remaining matches of the season, all against Sun Belt teams. The next match is at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30 at the GSU Soccer Complex against Troy.

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