ATLANTA--An in-state showdown at the GSU Soccer Complex on Friday vs. Georgia Southern kicks-off rivalry weekend for the Georgia State men's soccer team as it also takes on local-rival Mercer in Macon, Ga., on Sunday.
The Panthers (2-2-0) first battle the Eagles in a 4 p.m. match on Friday to renew a rivalry that has not taken place since 2004. A free shuttle service will be provided to students wanting to attend Friday's match at the GSU Soccer Complex. The first shuttle will depart at 3 p.m. from the University Commons and will run continuously from the GSU Soccer Complex every 45 minutes. The bus will continue to run throughout the men's soccer match at 4 p.m. and the women's soccer match vs. UT Martin at 7 p.m. Students should have their Panther ID cards ready to display upon boarding the shuttle. Free pizza will be provided to students who ride the shuttle to Friday's matches.
GSU owns a 14-11-5 edge in the competitive rivalry vs. Georgia Southern with the last match on Oct. 17, 2004, resulting in a 1-1 tie. The Panthers have not lost to Georgia Southern since 1997 and own a seven-match unbeaten streak since that time (5 wins, 2 ties).
The rivalry between Georgia State and Georgia Southern dates back to the first match played on Oct. 18,1980, that resulted in a 3-0 Georgia State victory. GSU and Georgia Southern played twice a year from 1985-91 and once a year from 1992-2001.
Georgia Southern (2-3-0) enters Friday's matchup following a 1-0 loss at home to Mercer. The Eagles owned a 17-10 advantage in shots, but conceded a goal in the 78th minute to Mercer senior Richie Edmonson who buried a cross from sophomore Carl-Oscar Andersson.
Georgia Southern senior midfielder Joe Hughes and freshman defender Reed Norton lead the Eagles with three goals this season. The Eagles own wins over Winthrop and Gardner-Webb, and lost to the one common opponent on GSU's schedule, North Florida (L, 3-4).
The Panthers and Bears (3-2-1) renew a rivalry for the 51st time in series history on Sunday in Macon, Ga. GSU owns the 30-16-4 advantage in the all-time series after a thrilling 2-1 victory last season at the GSU Soccer Complex. Junior Stephen McGill drilled a penalty-kick goal with 5:18 remaining in regulation to lead the Panthers to the victory.
Mercer returns nine starters from last season and 15 letterwinners. Senior midfielder Will Betts leads all Bears with four goals and eight points. Second-year starting goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh owns three shutouts this season all coming during Mercer's current four-match unbeaten streak.
Georgia State is looking for a bounce-back victory after falling 3-0 at Duke on Tuesday. The Blue Devils, ranked No. 25 in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Top 48, used three second-half goals to earn the win. The Panthers are led by senior Alex Vivanco who has three goals and seven points in four matches. Vivanco's 2.33 points per game average is good for sixth in collegiate soccer. Freshman William Mellors-Blair owns 4 assists so far this season and leads the nation in assists per game (1.33).
Live stats will be available for both matches. Visit the men's soccer page on www.GeorgiaStateSports.com for links to live stats and full recaps following each match.