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GS Men's Soccer off to hot start with win over VCU
Georgia Southern athletic logo

RICHMOND, Va. - The Georgia Southern men's soccer team blanked VCU, 2-0, to open up the 2018 regular season successfully on Friday afternoon at Sportsbackers Stadium in Richmond, Va.

The Eagles (1-0) notched a win in their season-opener for the second time out of the last three seasons, knocking off a Rams (0-1) squad that earned the No. 16 overall bye in the NCAA Championships a year ago. Georgia Southern finishes its season-opening weekend trip in Virginia by facing Old Dominion on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Norfolk.

"We're pleased anytime you can start the season with a strong performance, and after a relatively short preseason, you have to be satisfied as a coach if you can marry that performance with the desired result at the end of the day," Head Coach John Murphy said. "To play a team with the quality of VCU and get the result, you have to get a lot of things right. We rode our luck at times, which you have to do. We had some cohesion issues, which you can only improve by playing games, but it was satisfying to see how deep we can go into our bench and get a rotation going. It keeps energy levels high and keeps our bench motivated. I'm very proud of the team's performance. It's a good result, but we don't have a lot of time to think about it as we have a game on Sunday to prepare for."

The opening of the match saw just one shot between the two teams until the 20th minute, as senior Javier Carbonell's perfect-placed ball from the midfield found the foot of a sprinting Adam Davie. Davie beat both center backs, and the VCU keeper one-on-one for his first collegiate goal and the early 1-0 advantage.

Georgia Southern nearly made it a two-goal lead in the first half as redshirt freshman Edward Raji's turnaround shot from the top of the box hit off the left post at the 42nd minute mark. Freshman goalkeeper Jokull Blaengsson had to make a pair of saves in the first half - the second coming with just two seconds remaining on the clock - to make sure the Eagles kept the one-goal advantage into the break. Shots were 6-2 in favor of Georgia Southern at halftime.

In the second half, VCU controlled possession for the first nine minutes in an attempt to net the equalizer, but a bit of nifty passing resulted in Georgia Southern striking for a second goal. Freshman Samuel Mayer corralled a ball from Eirik Hoydal near the endline, then slotted a pass across the box, where Davie struck home the cross for his second goal of the match and the 2-0 advantage.

The Eagles had an excellence sequence to try and add a third goal late in the second half as the Eagles had three corner kicks in a minute's time, resulting in three shots - including a testing header by Raji that was deflected off the line. 

Georgia Southern finished the match with a 13-8 edge in shots and enjoyed a 9-4 advantage in corner kicks. Blaengsson made a pair of saves to notch his first collegiate shutout, while VCU goalkeeper Mario Sequeira made three saves in net for the Rams. Georgia Southern was whistled for 13 fouls, compared to nine for VCU, and the Rams were offsides twice on the day.