ATLANTA- The Georgia State men’s soccer team ended its 2017 campaign in the Sun Belt Tournament finals following an impressive season on the pitch. The Panthers went 12-7-1 (3-1-1 SBC) and were the conference regular season and tournament runners-up.

The team started its season off strong, going 3-1 in its first four matches. GSU went 2-0 during opening weekend, shutting out both Mercer and USC Upstate at home.

GSU defeated its highest-ranked opponent in program history in September, defeating then-No. 2 Wake Forest on the road in overtime. The win was tied for the highest-ranked opponent defeated in GSU history, with softball earning a victory over No. 2 Alabama in 2012.

The team hit a slump in mid-September, falling 1-0 in back-to-back matches. Georgia State bounced back quickly, winning seven of its next eight matches.

The Panthers closed out the regular season at 1-2-1, earning shutouts over conference opponents Appalachian State and Hartwick. Of the team’s five conference matches, Georgia State earned three shutouts.

GSU went into the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed after falling in the regular season finale to eventual champion Coastal Carolina. The Panthers defeated rival Georgia Southern for the second time in the season with a 3-1 victory in the tournament semifinals, falling to Coastal Carolina in the championship match.

The offense saw another year of explosive play, outscoring its opponents 36-21. The team was led by senior Rashid Alarape’s nine goals, three of which were game-winners. Alarape was ranked as high as No. 4 in the country in total goals, ending the season at No. 3 in the conference.

Hannes Burmeister led the team in game-winning goals with four and ranked second in total goals with eight. The junior now has 23 career goals, just one shy of tying for 10th in career goals in program history.

The Panthers ended the season with the No. 28 scoring offense in the country and No. 1 in the league.

The defensive effort was solid, earning seven shutouts and allowing four fewer goals than last season. Senior Yannic Horn ranks second in program history with 14 career shutouts and set a program record with a 1.01 career goals against the average.

The backline was anchored by Liam Fitzsimmons, Kyle Clinton, and George Proctor, with Clinton scoring three goals and Proctor scoring one. Fitzsimmons led the team with five assists, ranking third in the conference.

Georgia State tied Coastal Carolina for post-season honors, with seven student-athletes earning eight awards. Clinton led the team with two honors, being named to the All-Sun Belt First Team and Defensive Player of the Year.

“Overall, I think we took another step forward as a program this year,” head coach Brett Surrency said. “While we are disappointed to not have advanced to the NCAA Tournament, I still think we will be able to look back and see the positives in the season. I am thankful for the time that the seniors put into our program and wish them the best of luck moving forward to the next stage of their lives. That being said, I am also super excited about our returning players and believe that next season will be another great year for our program. I am anxious to get back to work in January and have a productive spring in preparation for the fall.”

The team will lose nine seniors from this year’s roster, with 16 players returning next season.