Men’s soccer knocks off SoCon rival for second straight win

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Robert Huitt


The Georgia Southern University men’s soccer team added to their winning streak as it traveled to Spartanburg, S.C. and defeated the Wofford College Terriers 1-0 on Saturday.

The Eagles entered the game against WC looking to continue the momentum gained after defeating the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in their previous game and ending a 10-game winless streak.

With the win, GSU improved to 2-2-1 in Southern Conference play (4-10-1 overall) and has a winning streak for the first time since they defeated Winthrop University and Gardner-Webb University back-to-back on Aug. 31 and Sept. 2.

WC came into the game fourth in the SoCon with a 2-1 record (9-5 overall) and proved to be a formidable opponent.

The Eagles were quickly tested in the first half as the Terriers had multiple scoring chances but were unable to capitalize. The Terriers had a 7-6 edge in shot attempts, but GSU junior goalkeeper Neal Bates made five critical saves to keep the game scoreless heading into halftime.

The second half was similar to the first with WC aggressively attacking the GSU defense. The Terriers had a lopsided 6-0 advantage in corner kicks and a plus-nine (12-3) differential in shot attempts. Bates once again stood strong in the net and made five more saves to complete the shutout.

The 10 saves Bates made in the game matched the season-high for the Eagles and the shutout was the team’s third of the season.

There were not many opportunities for GSU to put points on the board.

In the 67th minute, senior midfielder Joe Hughes was finally able to break through with a shot into the top right corner of the net from the 18-yard box to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. The goal proved to be all the Eagles would need as the 1-0 lead would stand for the rest of the game.

The goal was also significant because it was Hughes’ fourth of the season which gave him sole possession of the team lead in that category.

The game was a physical, hard-fought affair that one would expect from conference rivals. There were a total of six yellow cards and 23 fouls between the two teams.

The Eagles have two more games remaining in the regular season. The home finale will be played under the lights on Tuesday, Oct. 23 against Furman University. The season finale will be away against College of Charleston on Saturday, Oct. 27.