Georgia State’s women’s soccer team made it to their first-ever Sun Belt Conference championship game and lost to the three-time champion South Alabama Jaguars 4-0. The Panthers finished with an 11-6-4 regular season record before placing second in the conference tournament.
In the first half of the game, the Jaguars came out striking as they had seven shots during the period, but only put one in the net to give them a 1-0 lead. The Panthers on the other hand, only had one shot during that period to go along with five fouls. The Jaguars had the shots, but just couldn’t get the ball in the net. It was only a matter of time before the Jaguars were going to take advantage of their shot opportunities.
That time came in the second half, as the Jaguars had 10 shots and three goals to take a 4-0 lead and win the game. The Jaguars scored two goals in three minutes and the final goal in the 84th minute. The Jaguars finish the season with a 17-2-2 record and their third Sun Belt Conference title.
The Panthers offense could not get past the stingy Jaguars defense, as they only had five shots total in the game. The Panthers offense averages at least 15 shots per game, but just couldn’t seem to get the offense going.
The Jaguars offense did the complete opposite of the Panthers, as they attempted 17 shots, nine shots on goal, and four goals scored. The Panthers have had a pretty good defense this season only giving up 10 shots a game, but that defense seemed to disappear in their most important game.
“The girls should be very proud of themselves. They put in a lot of hard work and their efforts really paid off. It was a great season and I will definitely miss this group of seniors We are wishing all the best for South Alabama in the NCAA Tournament,” head coach Derek Leader said in a press release.
Coach Leader is right to be proud of his team after going against all odds and finishing in second place. Kenzie Winters, Jenna Moore, Suzanne Arafa, and Ashley Nagy were were awarded tournament honors.
Women’s Soccer: A Season to Remember
The Panthers may have fallen just short of pulling off the upset in their championship game, but that does not mean this team season was lost or a waste. This season was a memorable season as the Panthers reached limits they haven’t reached before.
The Panthers made it to their first ever Sun Belt Conference final pulling off two major upsets before losing to the conference’s top ranked team South Alabama. The Panthers got revenge against Texas State after losing to them last year in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament, by beating them 1-0.
In the semi-finals of the tournament, the Panthers pulled off their second upset against Troy beating them in a penalty shoot-out 4-2. The Panthers were down 1-0 at halftime, before they rallied to tie the game 1-1 in the second half and force penalties.
The Georgia State women’s soccer team of 2015 compared to the 2014 team is by far day and night. Last year, the Panthers finished with only six wins and a first round lost to Texas State. This Year the team finished with 11 wins and made it to their first Sun Belt tournament final.
In addition, the 2015 Panthers were better statistically. They averaged at least 14 shots a game compared to last year’s 10. They averaged 1.71 scores per game compared to the .9 of last year. They even had a better shot percentage with .117 compared to last year’s awful .088. This team made some major improvements this season, and it resulted in them getting second place in the Sun Belt tournament.
This season couldn’t have gone this well without the players doing their job. Suzanne Arafa led the team in goals, nine, and assists, five. Arafa also made the All-Sun-Belt First Team and finished fourth in the conference in total goals over the season with 9. Ashley Nagy was also selected to the All-Sun Belt Second team finishing second on the team in goals, seven, and had the most shot attempts with 54.
The Panthers defense had a great season as well, thanks to their goalie Christa Fox finishing fourth in the conference in shutout games with five. The defense only allowed 29 goals on the season giving their offense more opportunity to breathe as they scored 36 on the year. This is a +7 point goal differential which shows how good the team has played both defensively and offensively this season.
The Panthers will be losing 11 players this year with seven of them being starters. The team had a memorable season for these last soccer days for the seniors and one never to forget. It will be a bunch of new faces next year on the starting lineup and hopefully they can continue the trend of beating last year’s team.