Men’s Soccer heads to Charleston to open regular season

Thomas Jilk

The Holy City will host a college soccer tournament this weekend, including the first two games that count toward the overall record of the Georgia Southern men’s soccer team.

The Eagles will take on Monmouth on Friday and Furman on Sunday at the Aaron Olitsky Tournament on the campus of the College of Charleston.

Second-year head coach John Murphy – the reigning Sun Belt coach of the year – said preparations can be tough with only a couple weeks of practice gone by.

“I think I see more of the peril than maybe I did as a young coach,” Murphy said. “Two weeks is never enough. You always want a little bit more.”

Murphy did add that he’s confident in his team and in the talent they retained from last season and added over the summer.

“We have some very good players,” Murphy said. “Collectively, I think we’re very strong and we’re very deep … we go more than 18 deep which at this level is very important.”

The 2017 Eagles squad will be led by senior forward Blake Wilson and junior defender Emil Laursen, who were both named to the preseason All-Sun Belt team.

“Talent-wise, this is the best group we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Wilson said. “I’m very excited about this team.”

Though both Furman and Monmouth were 6-9-3 last season, Murphy said both teams are formidable. Furman, in fact, beat nationally-ranked Wake Forest already this preseason.

Wilson said Furman presents a challenge as a consistently strong soccer program. He played with Furman defender Kyle McLagan over the summer, and he said they discussed the upcoming match.

“Historically, Furman is always a great program,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be a good challenge, me and [McLagan] going head to head.”

Laursen, last year’s Sun Belt defensive player of the year, added that the Eagles embrace the obstacles that good teams create for them.

“We want to play good teams all the time, and this year we have a really tough schedule,” Laursen said. “I’m just looking forward to playing all the good teams on there. That’s what we prefer as a team.”

After tying with Coastal Carolina atop the Sun Belt in the 2016 regular season, expectations are high in Statesboro for this year’s team.

The Eagles take on Monmouth on Friday at 5 p.m. and Furman on Sunday at 4 p.m.