Durham, N.C.--The Georgia State men's soccer team dropped a narrow 1-0 match at No. 24 Duke Thursday night in the first round of the 2011 NCAA Championship.
The Panthers (13-8-1), under second-year head coach Brett Surrency, finish a historic season with their most wins in a season since 1986. GSU, playing in its first-ever NCAA Tournament match, created several scoring opportunities against the Blue Devils (11-7-3) but couldn't cash in to take an early lead.
Sophomores Evan Scott and Stephen McGill each had two shots to lead the team in the game. The duo combined on a beautiful give-and-go in the first three minutes that gave Scott a one-on-one chance against Duke junior goalkeeper James Belshaw. The forward drilled a shot that Belshaw fought off from eight yards out. A little later, Scott struck a ball on a sharp angle from the right side that Belshaw once again dove and batted away.
GSU played an even first half, going to the break tied at 0-0 before conceding a goal early in the second half. Junior goalkeeper Vincent Foermer was strong in net, making six saves including stopping a penalty kick taken by the opposing goalkeeper in the 26th minute. Foermer dove to his left and got his hand down on the low drive by Belshaw.
Duke senior Christopher Tweed-Kent banged home the match's only goal when he collected a rebound off a shot from midfielder Sean Davis. Foermer stopped the initial shot, but the ball skipped to Tweed-Kent on the left side and the midfielder chipped it past the diving GSU goalkeeper.
GSU ratcheted up the pressure in the second half as McGill ripped a free kick that was blocked in the 55th minute. McGill, a Second Team All-CAA selection this season, collected the rebound and sent in a cross to sophomore midfielder Jamal Keene. Keene, a Third Team All-CAA player, headed a ball on goal but the play was whistled offside. Junior midfielder Gimel Gordon rifled a shot off the outside of the net just less than a minute later.
Georgia State set numerous first this season and finished No. 36 in the RPI. The Panthers knocked off a ranked team at home for the first time in school history and are coming off their first trip to the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament trip. The team also tied a school record with nine shutouts this season. Georgia State previously participated in NCAA play-in games in 2000 and 1997 but fell both times.
By allowing one goal, Foermer set the school record for goals against average in a season at 1.14. He shattered the previous mark of 1.38 set by Paul Gutierrez in 2004. The GSU defense held the nation's second-leading scorer in junior Andrew Wenger (42 points) scoreless for the match.
Duke held a 15-7 lead in shots while GSU had a 6-5 advantage in corner kicks for the match. The Blue Devils advance to face the undefeated and 10th-seeded New Mexico Lobos (17-0-3) in the second round on Sunday.
Georgia State returns 10 starters next season from tonight's starting lineup. The Panthers look forward to the spring season in preparation for the 2012 season.