What you need to know:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011, Georgia State men’s soccer took No. 14 Charlotte to the wire in Thursday’s opening round match up at Transamerica Field, falling 3-0 in penalty kicks after netting the equalizer with four minutes left in regulation.
The loss concluded Georgia State’s 2018 season with an 11-6-3 overall record. The 49ers advanced to the second round, where they will face 12-seed Virginia Tech on Sunday.
“I thought it was a great NCAA Tournament game,” GSU head coach Brett Surrency said. “We expected a full battle from Charlotte and we got that, but I feel like we gave that as well. I’m disappointed to not advance, but in the same breath I’m incredibly proud of our boys.”
Charlotte got on the board first in Thursday’s contest, scoring on a header just nine minutes into the match. GSU battled back and eventually found the equalizer on a counter attack in the final five minutes of the first half. A cross from Hannes Burmeister connected with Aris Briggs who headed the equalizer for his sixth goal of the season.
Georgia State and Charlotte headed to the break knotted at one, with GSU owning a 6-5 advantage in total shots. The 49ers, meanwhile, led 2-1 in shots on target.
The two teams remained deadlocked at one midway through the second half, until the 49ers’ Daniel Bruce rocketed a shot from about 20 yards out that put Charlotte ahead 2-1 in the 71st minute. The 49ers would go a man down after picking up a red card just three minutes later, giving the Panthers an opportunity to force overtime.
GSU capitalized on the advantage in the 86th minute, as a cross from Max Hemmings connected with Alex Summerfield who headed in the equalizer. Each team had a few nice looks at goal in the closing minutes, but neither was able to net the game-winner.
The Panthers had one of their best chances of the night in the fourth minute of the second overtime period, as Dylan Morris launched a shot into the upper right-hand corner of the goal only to have his shot saved by the outstretched arms of the Charlotte keeper.
The score remained tied 2-2 after 20 minutes of overtime, moving the match to penalty kicks. The 49ers connected on all three of their attempts, while GSU hit the post on its first then fired its next two over the goal to give Charlotte the victory.
Despite the loss, the Panthers finished the match with a 24-21 advantage in total shots and 10-7 advantage in shots on goal. Hemmings led the team with five total shots and two on target while Summerfield followed with four total shots and three on target.
Thursday capped a historic 2018 season for Georgia State. GSU bounced back from an 0-2 start early in the year to win its next six – the first time the team won six in a row since 1987. Then after three straight losses in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Finals, the Panthers broke through to win their first ever Sun Belt regular season and tournament titles by knocking off two-time defending champion Coastal Carolina in the semifinal round and rival Georgia Southern in the championship match.
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