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Peach State Soccer Recap: It’s almost D1 conference tournament time

The jostling has begun for tournament positioning for many teams in-state.

Dave Williamson Photography

It’s getting late into the month of October, which means that Division 1 conference tournaments are just around the corner. Kennesaw State (A-Sun) and Mercer (SoCon) have punched their tickets in their respective league. Meanwhile, Georgia State and Georgia Southern’s women have work to do if they’re to make it in the Sun Belt. On the men’s side, Georgia State, Georgia Southern and Mercer still have a few matches to go in their regular seasons but have gotten off to a good start in conference play.

Here’s a recap of last week’s action (October 10-October 17):

Georgia State

The Panther men evened their Sun Belt mark at 1-1 with a 3-1 win at Howard in the nation’s capital. Max Hemmings (14’ PK, 38’) and Casey Shultis (51’) were the Panthers’ scorers in a match that saw Yannic Horn make one save while conceding a single goal in the 12th minute. Hemmings, a sophomore, sits at seven goals and fifteen points, just one goal and four points shy of classmate Hannes Burmeister.

The Panther women (2-3-4 Sun Belt) are in the throes of a three-match winless streak after their trek to the state of Arkansas saw them drop 2-1 decisions to Arkansas-Little Rock and Arkansas State. With one game remaining on the regular season slate (South Alabama at home on Friday), the ladies sit in a three-way tie for the eighth and final spot in the conference tournament with UL Monroe and Texas State, but hold the edge in percentage points. Needless to say, the game against the Jaguars, currently second in the conference, is a must-win on Senior Day.

Kennesaw State

The Owls have punched their ticket to the A-Sun tournament with a 3-3-0 record and currently sit in 4th, so it’s a matter of who they’ll play in the first round (which appears to be a home game as things stand right now). They shut out NJIT 3-0 on Saturday and saw their bid locked up by virtue of FGCU’s 2-0 win over Jacksonville. Cassidy Kemp and Kim Fincher netted their sixth goals of the season, while senior Monica Herrera scored only her fourth career goal in a dominant performance by KSU. Mady Carter faced just one shot on target all match long en route to her first career shutout in net.

Georgia

Georgia couldn’t carry on the momentum of their first conference win against LSU on October 9. The Dawgs recovered from an early goal to tie things up against Alabama at 1, but a penalty kick by Lacey Clarida and a second-half marker by Logue Shamburger were the difference in the Tide’s 3-1 win on Thursday. Despite the loss, UGA sits four points behind Texas A&M for the league’s 10th and final playoff spot with Ole Miss (Thursday) and Mizzou (Sunday) rounding out the home slate.

Mercer

The Mercer men sit in a tie for 2nd (4-2) in the Southern Conference standings after a 2-1 loss to the team they’re tied with - UNCG - on Saturday. Emmet Johnson knotted things up in the 17th minute for the Bears, but Damieon Thomas’s seventh goal midway through the 74th minute stood up as the game winner.

The women picked up a nice sweep at home against VMI (3-1) and UNCG (1-0) to take sole possession of third place (5-3) in SoCon play with one match remaining. With their home slate wrapped up for the year, the Bears travel to Charleston to finish their regular season against The Citadel. With a win, Mercer is guaranteed to host a SoCon tournament game at Bear Field.

Georgia Southern

The Eagle men currently sit with an unbeaten record in Sun Belt play (2-0-1) with their recent win over Gardner-Webb (3-2) on Wednesday and their scoreless draw at Coastal Carolina on Saturday. Wednesday’s match was a classic example of stealing three points as freshman Josh Bronstorph picked the perfect time for his first career goal - with 10 seconds remaining - to hand GSU the win. The two sides combined for 40 shots (23-17 in favor of Georgia Southern), while Gardner-Webb held a 9-7 edge in attempts on target.

Meanwhile, the women have hit a little bit of a bad stretch (losers of three of their last four) as they sit at the bottom of the Sun Belt with just six points (2-6). They need to, at the very least, defeat Little Rock and Arkansas State, then get help from a few teams above them to sneak into the eighth and final spot in the conference tournament.


Coming Up This Week

Georgia State
MSoc - 10/18 vs. Jacksonville; 10/22 at Appalachian State
WSoc - 10/21 vs. South Alabama

Kennesaw State
10/22 - at USC Upstate

Georgia
10/20 - vs. Ole Miss; 10/23 vs. Missouri

Mercer
MSoc - 10/18 at Wofford; 10/22 vs. VMI
WSoc - 10/23 at The Citadel

Georgia Southern
MSoc - 10/18 at Presbyterian; 10/22 vs. Hartwick
WSoc - 10/21 at Little Rock; 10/23 at Arkansas State