Eagles look to win first SoCon Championship

Sophomore defender Reed Norton (4) celebrates with junior midfielder David Vargas Masis (11) after Norton records a goal against Presbyterian College.Photo by: Christal Riley

Trevor McNaboe

With Southern Conference play beginning this weekend, the Georgia Southern University men’s soccer team sits in the middle pack hoping to win its first SoCon Championship.

In-conference play determines the team’s seeding in the conference tournament and ultimately if it gets a bid to the NCAA tournament.

GSU has yet to win a SoCon championship, which, just like basketball, is an automatic qualifier into “the big dance.” This season the Eagles were projected to finish third out of seven teams.

Furman University Paladins and Elon University Phoenix were both picked ahead of the Eagles with Furman nabbing five of the seven first-place votes.

The Eagles’ two biggest matches of the year will be when they face both teams on the road this year as the Paladins have gotten off to a good start at 6-1 along with a 4-0 record at home this year.

The Phoenix are the defending SoCon champions and currently sport a 5-1-1 record and are 2-1-1 at home.

The Eagles won against the Phoenix the last time they faced off at Elon in 2011 by a score of 4-2. However, Elon has gotten the best of the Eagles, winning four of the last five matches.

Moving down the list, GSU has had success against the mid place finishers as last year it soundly defeated the University of North Carolina at Greensboro by a score of 4-1. Currently, the Spartans are 4-3 on the season.

Appalachian State University is the third and final team to receive a first-place vote to win the SoCon. The Mountaineers currently sit at the bottom of the conference with a 1-1-5 record. Last season the Mountaineers were able to draw with the Eagles in Boone, N.C. App. State is winless on the road this year and have not beaten GSU in Statesboro since 2011.

Wofford College was predicted to finish sixth in the conference and have been a surprise this season as it has a 4-3-1 record. The Terriers are 3-0 at home this season. However, they will have to travel to Statesboro later on in the year where they have not scored a win since 2009.

Riding the wave of a two game winning streak, Georgia Southern University men’s soccer team will kick off Southern Conference play this Sunday against Davidson College.

Davidson College wraps up the SoCon after a disappointing 6-11-1 season, but it has come out strong in 2013 at 4-3-1. The Wildcats scored a win last season on the Eagles by a tally of 2-1. The Wildcats have not beaten the Eagles in Statesboro since 2009.

The SoCon looks ripe for the taking for the Eagles, if they can maintain their composure on the road and are able to lock up a second, third, or fourth seed. They will host the opening round of the SoCon Tournament.

GSU will kick off SoCon play this Sunday against the Wildcats at 2 p.m.