Georgia State 1-0 Central Arkansas: What we learned

The Georgia State men’s soccer team salutes their fans after their match. Photo Submitted by Rich Von Biberstein & Georgia State Athletics

The Georgia State men’s soccer team knocked off No. 1 ranked Central Arkansas in a 1-0 win Friday afternoon in the Sun Belt tournament semifinals.

The Panthers will look to repeat as SBC champions, as they will play in the final of the tournament for their fifth consecutive year on Sunday. 

The only goal of the night came from an unexpected source, as defender Alex Summerfield volleyed a shot into the bottom left corner of the net in the 76th minute, courtesy of an assist from sophomore Victor Pererya-Zavala, who fought for the ball in the box before pushing it back to the waiting Summerfield. 

Central Arkansas controlled most of the first period of play despite giving up two early corners. 

The Bears dominated Georgia State in shots and shots-on-goal throughout the entire match, but were unable to beat goalkeeper Paul Tyson, who recorded a school-record eighth shutout of the season. 

After the goal in the 76th minute, the Bears sense of urgency increased, as they quickly got into scoring positions. 

The team came agonizingly close late in the match when it fired a shot on goal that was stopped by Tyson’s outstretched foot.

Central Arkansas received one final chance at scoring a late equalizer when goalkeeper Marc Olsen traveled into the GSU box and was unable to head the ball on goal. 

Despite losing to Central Arkansas just a few weeks ago, Georgia State proved their grit and will look to continue this playstyle in the final.

So what did we learn?

Defense Wins Matches

Georgia State has played an offensive-happy style of soccer this season, scoring four goals in its last outing. Forward Aris Briggs leads the Sun Belt Conference in goals and came into Fridays match looking to add more. 

However, it was the defense that showed its power for the Panthers. The scoreline read 0-0 for the majority of the match, and both teams seemed to be limited offensively. The Bears managed to pick up the pace in the second period, but the same could not be said for the Panthers. 

A true defensive masterclass and dominant goalkeeping performance earned Georgia State the win.

Goalkeeping at its Finest

Goalkeeper Paul Tyson turned in his eighth shutout of the year, and it took all six feet and seven inches of the Englishmen to do so at times. 

A key save late in the match solidified the Panthers win and embodied the night as a whole for Paul. Although keepers traditionally value their hands as their most prized assets, it was Paul’s foot that came up clutch for the Panthers as the ball bounced off it and back into play. 

Winning is a Team Effort 

Coach Brett Surrency’s team is familiar with playing in high scoring games that are usually dominated by one or two players. On Friday, however, the team was forced to bunker down and fight for their season as they faced a talented Central Arkansas defense. 

The story of the Panthers backline remained consistent throughout the night as they limited corners and forced the Bears to take poor shots. Although the end product may have been less entertaining, the Panthers will need to continue their team effort as they head into the final.