Men’s soccer takes the win over James Madison

Photo by: Heather Yeomans

Emily Arnold

In its last regular season match, the Georgia Southern University men’s soccer team came out on top with a score of 2-1 against James Madison University, Sunday afternoon.

Playing in Harrisonburg, VA, James Madison’s home turf, the Eagles fought for the win after being down one goal.

“I was extremely proud of the guys,” GSU head coach Kevin Kennedy said. “It is extremely tough in college soccer to go on the road, to make the longest trip of the year, and to play a very good team and to rally from going down a goal. I was really proud of the guys to get the results.”

Junior forward Josh Grant scored the first and only goal for James Madison 36 minutes into the game.  The ball was kicked from 10 yards out and was assisted by redshirt junior midfielder Renaldo Garcia.  This was Grant’s seventh goal of the season

Just three minutes later, senior forward and team captain Hunter Norton leveled the playing field and scored his sixth goal of the season.  Norton shot the ball into the net from 12 yards out after receiving it from his brother, sophomore defender Reed Norton.

“We’ve been playing together our whole lives,” Hunter Norton said. “I love playing with him. When he decided to come to Georgia Southern, too, I was really excited.”

The next goal was shot 11 minutes into the second half by freshman forward Jeremy Rector.  Rector volleyed the ball from a failed clearance into the net 17 yards out to put the Eagles ahead by one.

Senior goalkeeper Neal Bates played a great game in the net with seven saves from 16 total shots.  Bates’ shining moment was his penalty save 65 minutes in which locked in the 2-1 lead for the Eagles.  With 102 saves this season, Bates is in ninth place in GSU history for single-season saves, but with 188 career saves, Bates takes the seventh all-time spot.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Norton said. “I’m proud of my team for getting a win no matter what.”

After winning the last four out of five games, up next for the Eagles is the 2013 SoCon Tournament. Going in as the sixth seed, the Eagles plan to take the tournament one game at a time.

“We scored 10 goals over the course of the last five games so I’m excited about those things going to the conference tournament,” Kennedy said. “Winning the first round [of the tournament] will be the main focus this week.”

The Eagles will go head-to-head with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro this Saturday night at 7 p.m.