Georgia State looks to win it all at the Sun Belt Conference Women’s Soccer Tournament

The Georgia State Lady Panthers soccer team will enter the Sun Belt Conference Tournament as the No. 2 seed in the East. The Panthers finished No. 3 in points overall out of the 11 Sun Belt soccer teams.

The Panthers have been to the tournament as recently as last year, entering as the No. 5 seed in the East and knocking out No. 4 Coastal Carolina. In the previous year, Jimena Cabrero was the deciding factor as a freshman, scoring in the 79th minute to seal the 1-0 victory. 

After their win in the quarterfinals, the Panthers matched up with the No. 1-seeded South Alabama Jaguars, who defeated the Panthers 1-0 in the tournament semifinals. South Alabama proceeded to win its sixth SBC title in the last seven years.

Just like last year, the tournament will happen in Foley, Alabama. But, a different-look Panthers team will be in a much better position to challenge their second-ever championship berth thanks to their schedule this year. They finished with a 9-2-2 record, which is the best record for the Lady Panthers since the 1998 season when they went 14-1-1. The nine-win season included some great wins.

This season has been the best performance we’ve put out as a group since I’ve been here,” Knox said. “We’ve had some tough games, but I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished this year.

She highlighted their first game against the Jaguars as of her favorite victories this year, one that looks even more impressive considering the standings at the end of the season.

“They’ve always been a very talented team and one that we have a lot of respect for,” Knox said. “Beating them for the first time in a while was a great win for our team and the program.”

Due to the Lady Panthers securing second place in the East behind South Alabama, they will take on the game’s winner between the third seed in the West and the sixth seed in the East. The most likely matchup might be Texas State against Troy. 

Most likely, Georgia State’s quarterfinal opponent on Nov. 4 will be Texas State. The Bobcats have not crossed paths with the Panthers this year, making this a  fresh matchup for both teams. Georgia State’s other possible opponent would be the Trojans, who tied with Panthers in their only meeting this year despite having a down year. 

If the Panthers defeat their quarterfinal opponent, they will probably meet the West division champion Arkansas State Red Wolves, barring an upset in Arkansas’ quarterfinal matchup. Of course, any given game can go wildly different from what the rankings and statistics point to.

Still, if the No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup does occur, Georgia State comes in with a more experienced, wily and battle-tested team than last year, with 24 returning players.

Will they win in the quarterfinals and advance to the semifinals? Hopefully.

Are they more than capable of winning the entire tournament? Most definitely.