ATLANTA – The preseason has officially begun in the ATL as the Georgia State women’s soccer team reported to campus this week to commence preparations for the upcoming 2019 season. The Panthers will look to carry over momentum from a strong finish to last year, where the team went 6-1-1 in its final eight matches and reached the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
GSU concluded the 2018 campaign with an 8-10-2 (5-4-1 SBC) record and made its first appearance in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament since 2015. The blue and white had a slow start to the season but bounced back in a major way during the second half of the year, stringing together four consecutive conference victories from late September to the end of October – a feat that the program hadn’t accomplished in 14 years.
Georgia State’s 34-player roster features 20 returners and 14 newcomers, including seven returning starters. Brooke Shank highlights the pack of returning starters, as the Cedar Park, Texas, native enters her senior season as the second-leading scorer among all returning players in the Sun Belt in 2019. Also looking to make an impact this year are returners Lily Barron and Brisa Zavala, who combined for 11 points in 2018.
Of the 14 new faces on this year’s squad, two have been with the Panthers since January. Mississippi State transfer Liz Anne Fogarty and West Virginia transfer Ashley Triplett joined GSU in the spring, garnering experience with the team through the offseason exhibition matches.
“This is an exciting season for the program,” GSU head coach Ed Joyce said. “We have a large collection of returning players that will really help to integrate a talented group of new players and we’re excited to see how those relationships develop over time.
“It will be very important that we develop an identity during the preseason and non-conference schedule,” Joyce said. “We think that the conference will be tight this year and that the teams that find out who they are first will ultimately separate themselves from the rest. We will also heavily rely upon our junior and senior class to bring the underclassmen up to speed with the rigors of travel in the SBC.”
NOTABLE HOME MATCHES
Sunday, Aug. 25 vs. Kennesaw State (Poster Giveaway Night): The first 100 fans in attendance will receive a free 2019 Georgia State Women’s Soccer poster.
Sunday, Sept. 15 vs. Georgia (Alumni Night): Georgia State invites all GSU Women’s Soccer Alumnae to reconnect with the current coaching staff and players on September 15 at the GSU Soccer Complex. Alumnae will be honored at halftime.
Friday, Sept. 20 vs. Little Rock (Military Appreciation Night): All active and former military members are invited to join the Panthers on Sept. 20 and will receive a free concession voucher by showing military ID.
Friday, Oct. 18 vs. Louisiana (Fan Appreciation Day): Panther fans are encouraged to come out and support the GSU women’s soccer team in one of the final home matches of the season, where 2019 team posters will be given away during pregame and fans will have the opportunity to get player autographs after the conclusion of the match.
Georgia State will live stream four of its home matches during the 2019 season on its official audio and video service PantherVision. Fans will be able to stream the following women’s soccer contests: Aug. 25 vs. Kennesaw State, Sept. 6 vs. Chattanooga, Sept. 15 vs. Georgia and Oct. 27 vs. Appalachian State. All home matches at the GSU Soccer Complex will be free admission and parking for fans.
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