Seniors save senior night for Georgia State

Lily Barron of Georgia State women’s soccer team defends against Louisiana Monroe University during their game at the GSU Soccer Complex, Oct. 5, 2018. Photo by Unique Rodriguez | The Signal

The Panther women’s soccer team defeated Louisiana-Monroe 2-1 on Senior Night last Friday at the GSU Soccer Complex. The four seniors on the team were honored in a small ceremony before the match. The seniors received plaques and flowers with their friends and family accompanying them onto the field to be recognized. Just a few matches away from their final home game, the emotions on the field were high before the match even started.

The Panthers had a beautiful first half, dominating the possession game and getting off 17 shots with 11 of them on goal, while Louisiana-Monroe had only two total first half shots. Georgia State entered the game ranked third in the conference in shots taken with 147. They also had nine corner kicks and some great looks that were nearly converted into points.

Georgia State was finally able to jump onto the board when senior Caitlin Ray found the back of the net in the 23rd minute. After a shot by Monique Hundley was deflected by the Louisiana-Monroe keeper, Ray slipped in and scored before the keeper could fully collect the ball.

“It was all very hype when we came in because of course it’s Senior Night, so we were all really excited, all of the seniors,” Ray said. “We just really wanted to put our best effort in and our best foot forward going into this game, and I think we did so.”

What looked like a beautiful second goal for the Panthers in the 31st minute was called back by officials for being offsides. After an uneventful half from Louisiana-Monroe, the score was 1-0 at the break.

After halftime, the Warhawks came out with a new intensity and began to even the game out. The momentum shifted after Louisiana-Monroe knocked in the equalizer in the 64th minute off a set play from around 25 yards out. The shot from Maelwenn Gaiffas got a friendly bounce off the top of the post and found its way into the net.

The Panthers continued to test the Louisiana-Monroe goalkeeper, adding seven more shots on goal in the second half, which was Ray’s second goal of the night. That game-winning score came off a well-placed lead pass from midfielder Alex Addington, which put Ray in open field with one defender to beat in the 78th minute.

The Georgia State seniors certainly shined on Senior Night, with Hundley and Ray both finishing with four shots on goal, the match high. Ray now has three goals on the season.

The Warhawks sit at 0-12-0 and are 0-6 in the Sun Belt Conference, while the Panthers improved to 4-9-1 overall.

The match was very physical, and two Louisiana-Monroe players received yellow cards. One player was ejected after receiving two yellow cards within one minute.

Georgia State has now won back-to-back games for the first time since 2015. The streak started with a 3-2 victory over Troy on Sept. 30, breaking a seven-game losing streak. A Brooke Smith free kick in the 87th minute put Georgia State ahead for good.

The Panthers next face Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina on Oct. 12. The Mountaineers are in third place in the Sun Belt, but they are coming off a 1-0 home loss against Texas State.