Panthers dominate Georgia Southern Eagles in Statesboro, winning 3-0

The Men’s Soccer team is off to a great start this season, with their most recent dominating win against Georgia Southern. Photo Submitted by GSU Athletics

Georgia State beat rival Georgia Southern 3-0 on Friday night, giving the team back-to-back victories this season. The win marks the third time this year that the Panthers have beaten Southern, advancing their overall record to 7-1.

The Panthers are riding a hot streak after winning 4-1 last week against the UAB Blazers, a game that saw a goal scored within 50 seconds of kickoff.

The Georgia State-Georgia Southern rivalry follows each of the school’s sports teams, from basketball and football to soccer. The Panthers’ dominant play on the pitch this season has led to just one loss, good enough to tie the team for first place in the Sun Belt Conference. 

Aris Briggs has contributed to the Panthers’ success on the pitch significantly, notching a team-leading five goals on the season. While all eyes may be on Briggs, freshman Andrew Bennett proved his skill, scoring twice on the night, giving the Panthers back to back wins.

Bennett scored his first career goal midway through the first period of play after receiving an assist from Ross Finnie in the 33rd minute.

Junior Matthew Fearnley scored his fourth goal of the year on the night after receiving Bennett’s assist in the 57th minute. 

The dagger came in the 74th minute after Bennett once again found the back of the net, giving the Panthers a commanding 3-0 lead.

The win marks the second time that the Panthers have beaten Southern in just two weeks as the two schools met on Oct. 4. That game was decided by two goals, one from both Briggs and Fearnley.

Georgia State remains in a redemption position as the team was eliminated by Coastal Carolina in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament last year. The match saw the team lose devastatingly, resulting in their absence from the NCAA Tournament. 

The loss was a crippling one, as the team found lots of success in the SBC Tournament, scoring six goals in just three games. Despite such a severe loss to end the 2019 season, the Panthers are rolling in 2020, losing only one game so far.

The season may look slightly different, as just four teams take place in regular season play due to coronavirus concerns, but things seem to be getting back to some semblance of normalcy.

The bright side of playing with so few teams is the familiarity that teams will acquire in opponents’ play style, which seems to have some validity as the Panthers have now swept Southern 3-0.

Briggs’ and the Panthers’ success on the pitch usually tie into each other, but with Bennett’s standout performance on Friday, the team may be able to put forward an attack that has multiple dangerous strikers.

Right now, the Panthers are riding high, and the team will need to continue that streak to remain atop the Sun Belt Conference. The Panthers will take a short break before tackling their next obstacle on Oct. 24 as the team faces the Central Arkansas Bears.