Lady Panthers soccer team opens the season 1-0

Number 14, Eva Diez Lois, dribbles the ball down field during Sunday’s match against Costal Carolina. Photo Submitted by Bree Hicken/GSU Sports Communication

As summer gives way to autumn, the Georgia State women’s soccer team returns to the pitch, looking to build on last year’s 9-9-2 record after falling to South Alabama in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament semifinals. 

Given the current social restrictions, this season will require even more adaptability.

One of the more significant adjustments for the student-athletes, aside from online classes, was practice. Senior defender Liz Fogarty details how their practices have changed in response to the times.

“Our prepractice routine is a bit different,” Fogarty said. “Making sure we fill out our symptom reports and getting our temperatures checked and wearing a mask at all times other than when we’re actually playing. We split up into pods to keep groups separate.”

All the practice led to the Lady Panthers’ first game against the Mercer Bears in Macon on Sept. 11. Georgia State came in with an 0-3-1 record in Macon looking to reverse their fortune.

They were off quickly,  getting the lead in the 14th minute of the first half thanks to the efforts of Liz Fogarty.

“Liz’s goal was amazing, probably one of the best ones I have ever seen at Georgia State,” said sophomore Jimena Cabrero.

Fogarty’s early goal, combined with a stout Georgia State defense, stifled the Bears. This kept Mercer from getting into a rhythm in the attacking third.

At the end of the half, the Panthers were up 1-0 and riding good momentum to enter the backstretch of the season’s first game.

Mercer was not ready to concede the game without a fight, finding their pace in the second half.  Eventually, though, the Panthers put one past goalkeeper Maria Subies to even up the score in the 70th minute.

After a 90-minute game to kick off the season’s start, they were deadlocked at one goal each. Surely the fatigue, momentum shift and difficulties coming into this season would have played a factor in the team’s morale entering overtime. That was not the case to Jimena Cabrero.

“The team and I were winning 50/50s and playing in the way we practiced,” Cabrero said. “We wanted it more than Mercer, and I was 100% sure we were going to win. I remember when we were about to start overtime, I went to Liz, and I told her, ‘We gonna win this.’”

Her faith in the team was backed up shortly in the 93rd minute by freshman Brooke Hart’s goal that sealed the deal 2-1 in favor of Georgia State. With that game-winner, the Panthers’ student-athlete of the week gave them their first win in Macon since 2006.

As Hart found the back of the net, her teammates were ecstatic.

“Watching my teammates doing what our coach asked us to do and with that much intensity helps you to be or try to be at their level,” Cabrero said. “That was one of the keys that made us win the game.”