Men’s soccer comes up short in title game

Men’s soccer comes up short in title game

Robert George

The Georgia Southern men’s soccer team lost a heartbreaker Sunday afternoon, falling to the Hartwick Hawks 1-0 in the Sun Belt Championship Final.

The Eagles played a tough Hartwick squad, and came up just short- giving up a lone goal in the 65th minute. Hartwick’s Jamie O’Grady scored his first goal of the year on a corner kick, which proved to be the game winner.

The Eagles were out-shot 11-10 in the game. Georgia Southern’s Blake Wilson, Ethan LePan and Emmanuel Raji all put shots on goal but were unable to hit the back of the net. The Hawks hunkered down and played tough defense after their go-ahead goal, and didn’t allow the Eagles an equalizer in the final 25 minutes. The defense was led by junior goalkeeper Tom Buckner, who made two big saves in the latter stages of the game to preserve the lead.

“I was disappointed with our performance today, we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be,” Head Coach Kevin Kennedy said in a news release. “Congratulations to Hartwick, we told the guys that they would be dangerous on set pieces and they scored their goal off a corner kick. We weren’t as dangerous in the attacking third as I would have liked, and that was the difference.”

Hartwick will take home the first Sun Belt Men’s Soccer Championship awarded by the conference since 1985, the last season that the sport was sponsored by the Sun Belt. The Eagles will finish the season with a 8-9-0 overall record while going 3-2-0 in the conference.

Three Eagles made the Sun Belt Conference All Tournament Team with Jack Falle, Emmanuel Raji, and Eric Dinka all earning spots on the list. Raji and Dinka each scored a goal in the tournament, while Falle finished the tournament with 10 saves, capping off an excellent season for the junior goalkeeper.