Not sure if you’ve heard, but our soccer team is legit. So we’re gonna preview important opponents throughout the Fall as the ‘Dores defend their Regular Season SEC Championship.
Opponent: Georgia State University
Coach: Ed Joyce, 4th year at GSU, 8th overall
2018 Record: 8-10-2 (5-4-1, 6th in the Sunbelt)
Why Important?: It’s the regular season opener
Can it be see on TV?: Yes, it’s on SEC Network+ at 8:00 PM EST
The Panthers of GSU are in their 26th season as a soccer program. They compete in the Sunbelt conference and consider Georgia Southern their primary rival.
This year, the Panthers are chalked full of underclassmen with 21 freshmen or sophomores.
Their top returning scorers from last year are Brooke Shank (SR) and Lily Barron (RS JR). Shank scored six goals on 48 shots and recorded one assist. Barron found the back of the net three times on seven shots and contributed on assist.
Based on her performance last year and projected importance to the Panthers this year, Shank was selected to the Sun Belt All Conference Preseason Team.
Unfortunately for them and very fortunate for Haley Hopkins, they are breaking in a new goal keeper. Ashley Tripplet, a 5’ 4” sophomore will start between the bars. In her first preseason game, she played 47 minutes and made three saves.
GSU did suffer a key loss in defender Ella Powell. Powell joined GSU for one season as a defender and contributed to one of the top defensive lines in the Sunbelt before she left to play professionally in England. Powell was part of the U-19 Wales National Team, which speaks to her pedigree.
In their first preseason game against Austin Peay, Brooke took three shots, netting one.
It should be an easy game for Vandy to win and get comfortable on the pitch. And by comfortable, I mean Haley Hopkins running roughshod all over the field as if she has reached singularity with FIFA20 playing on Expert while the Panthers are on Beginner.