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OT thriller sends men to semifinals

Georgia Southern men’s soccer coach Kevin Kennedy wasn’t used to watching the Southern Conference Tournament from the outside looking in.

But after 2008, that was exactly what happened.

Sunday at Eagle Field, the No. 4 seed Eagles kicked down the door back into the SoCon mix with a 2-1, overtime win over fifth-seeded UNC Greensboro in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.

"I was telling the team that I was a little spoiled my first two years," Kennedy said. "We went to a final and we went to a semifinal and got knocked out on penalty kicks. Sometimes you can take that for granted, because anything can happen in a tournament. We’re definitely excited."

The Eagles will face No. 1 seed Elon Thursday at 5 p.m. in Cary, N.C., in the semifinals.

It was a good thing GSU didn’t get caught looking at that matchup on Sunday, because all the other quarterfinal games were decided Saturday and the Eagles had to sit through a two-hour lightening delay against UNCG.

"We knew Furman was out, we knew Charleston was out – two of the best teams in the league this year I thought," said Kennedy. "It was tough not to look ahead and say, ‘We know we’ll play Elon, and we know who’s on the other side of the bracket.’"

The Eagles’ biggest test will be slowing down Elon’s Chris Thomas, the leading scorer in NCAA Division I.

"I imagine he’ll be named player of the year," said Kennedy. "He’s leading the country in scoring. When we scouted them, he had a big, black circle around him to contain him."


Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.