Columbia, S.C.--The Georgia State men's soccer team scored three second-half goals in a 6-3 exhibition tune-up loss with the Conference-USA favorite South Carolina Gamecocks on Tuesday night.GSU had been at Jekyl Island for a five-day summer camp and concluded with the stop at USC on its way back to Atlanta.
The Panthers will be back on their home practice field for three days to prepare for their final exhibition match Saturday at home against Southern Poly. The match takes place this Saturday, Aug. 18, at 7 p.m. at the GSU Soccer Complex. Admission to all Georgia State soccer matches is free for fans.The regular season begins Aug. 24 with a match at Jacksonville University.
On Tuesday night, the Panthers fell behind in the first half but rallied in the second to outshoot the Gamecocks 12-10 and narrow the final shots to 20-14 for the exhibition game. Both teams got a good workout and look at their rosters as 41 players participated, with 23 from USC and 18 from GSU seeing action.
The Panthers received three goals from redshirt junior Caleb Kernan, senior Peter Vania and senior Gimel Gordon. Assists in the match were given to redshirt junior Michael Nwiloh, sophomore Bo Stroup and sophomore Peter Kurowski.
Kernan put Georgia State on the board after Nwiloh made a nifty pass to spring him free on goal. He buried the chance from just a couple of yards out to give GSU its first goal at the 59:43 mark. The Panthers ratcheted up the pressure from that point on firing two shots and earning a penalty kick at the 69:23 mark. Freshman Cory Plasker stepped in to take the kick and grazed the post with a right-footed strike to narrowly miss a chance to cut the deficit in half. Less than eight minutes later Vania connected on a soaring header off a quickly-taken free kick from Stroup to make the score 4-2 at the 77:30 mark.
South Carolina quickly rebounded with a goal but the resilient Panthers kept up the offensive pressure. Kurowski rifled a shot from just outside the 18-yard box that handcuffed Gamecocks goalkeeper Chris Duzan and left an opportune rebound for Gordon. The senior from Oakville, Ontario, chipped home the loose ball and once again pulled GSU within two goals. Gordon later narrowly missed a chance to pull the Panthers within one with a shot that rang the crossbar.
Senior Vincent Foermer started for the Panthers in net and redshirt sophomore CJ Cochran finished the match off by playing the entire second half. Cochran made several sprawling saves early in the second half, one on a breakaway, to keep the match within reach. Gordon led all GSU players with five shots.
South Carolina was a 2011 NCAA Tournament participant after it won the 2011 Conference USA title. The Gamecocks were predicted to repeat as conference champions in 2012 and return seven starters from the team that went 9-7-3 last year.
After a shaky start, the Panthers generated one of their best possessions of the night late in the first half against the Gamecocks with the crisp and direct passing that has defined the team's style under third-year head coach Brett Surrency. The possession was the first display of offensive aptitude on the night and led to several strong possessions for the Panthers in the second half.
Freshman Conor Acheson skied for two quality chances early in the second half. At the 57:36 mark, Acheson drilled the crossbar with a header off a corner kick taken by senior Eric Lawrence. On a corner kick directly following that, Acheson narrowly missed another chance with the ball rolling just wide.
Check www.GeorgiaStateSports.com for a preview of the Saturday match later this week.