PREVIEW: Men’s soccer primed to take on UNC-Wilmington in season opener

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  • Aldair Cortes (15) made the 2018 Sun Belt Conference All-Tournament Team and returns for his junior season as an Eagle.

Chuck Paggett

Georgia Southern men’s soccer is set to open the 2019 season against UNC-Wilmington on Friday, Aug. 30 in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Eagles, coming off a 7-7-3 season last year, look to stifle a UNCW team that has made consecutive NCAA tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018.

UNCW is led by a senior duo, forward Phillip Goodrum and defender Mark Lindstrom, picked as the preseason offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively, in the Colonial Athletic Association.

GS boasts their own senior duo, team captains Justin Little and Gonzalo Talavera, ready to accept the challenge presented in the season opener.

“What we’ve been working on this week is just playing as a team, staying together as a team and just working through our problems as a team, on the field [and] off the field,” Little said. “So like coach says, it’s mainly about us, how we play and how we handle their threats . . .  staying strong defensively and just trying to catch them on the break.”

Talavera echoed his teammate’s sentiment about Friday’s match.

“We just have to worry about ourselves,” Talavera said. “I think that if we perform and we go hard, play together as a family, we don’t really have to worry about individual players.”

After two exhibition matches, GS looks to deploy any takeaways and lessons learned from the offseason when they take the field against UNCW.

“I think that the exhibition matches we had this year were really competitive,” Talavera said. “We started to get to know each other, how we play, our tendencies and I think it really helped us to get ready for what is about to come.”

The Eagles will kick off the 2019 campaign for a Sun Belt title at 5 p.m. in the Aaron Olitsky Tournament, hosted by the College of Charleston.

Chuck Paggett, The George-Anne Sports Reporter,