The Georgia Southern men’s soccer team defeated long-time rival Appalachian State 3-1 in the last regular-season game, claiming a share of the regular season Sun Belt Conference title. “We haven’t taken anything for granted all year,” said Head Coach John Murphy. “I think our record over the season shows that we were amongst the best teams in the conference and I think it’s a great credit to our players and our coaching staff.” The team ended the year 3-1-1 in Sun Belt Conference action, marking the best league record for the Eagles in a decade. They tied with Coastal Carolina atop the standings with 10 points each and identical 3-1-1 league records. It is the first conference title for the men’s soccer program. Five Georgia Southern men’s soccer players were named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar All-South Region teams. Adam Abdellaoui, Torgeir Fjaer and Emil Laursen were all named to the first team with Thor Sveinbjornsson and Aidan Reising earning second-team honors. Student-athletes receiving Scholar All-Region recognition at the NCAA Division I level must have a 3.30 grade point average, start more than 50 percent of all games with significant contribution and be a junior or above in academic standing. The five student-athletes honored are the most by any program in the south region.
Georgia Southern rifle capped the 2016-17 season by winning the Air Rifle Championship at the 2017 Southern Conference Rifle Championships. The Eagles took the team title on the final day of competition. This is the first title for the Eagles, coming in its fourth season, and the program’s first title in the Southern Conference. Last fall, Georgia Southern rifle hosted a home match for the first time in its history against Wofford The Eagles christened the Shooting Sports Education Center as Georgia Southern’s home range. “We were very excited to host our first home match,” said Head Coach Jim Riggs. “And proud to show our unique sport to the Eagle Nation for the first time on home soil.”
Younghoe Koo of Georgia Southern was named as one of three finalists for the 25th Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award. Koo, a senior from Ridgewood, New Jersey, set the Georgia Southern record with 14 consecutive made field goals, a stretch snapped only by a missed 54-yard attempt going into halftime against Ole Miss, his only miss on the season, finishing 19-for- 20 for a 95.0 percent accuracy rate that ranked third in the nation. The 19 total FGs ties the Eagles’ all-time record, while his career 88.6 percent accuracy easily tops the school record books. Koo’s season is highlighted by his 4-for-4 field goal performance against Arkansas State that included a season- and career-long 53 yarder. Koo made five field goals of 40 yards or more during the 2016 season and has eight made field goals of 40 yards or longer for his career. He is the first Georgia Southern player to be a national finalist for an award since the Eagles joined the FBS in 2014. “This a great honor to be recognized as a finalist for the Lou Groza Award with two other outstanding candidates,” Koo said. “This honor is a reflection of our senior class and the strong bond we have and I’m honored to have represented Georgia Southern for the past four years.”
The Georgia Southern men’s basketball team’s season highlights included an eight-game winning streak from Dec. 2-Jan. 23, its longest since the 2005-06 season, and the team’s RPI of 122 is the second-highest in the last 27 seasons. The team played in the College Basketball Invitational hosting Utah Valley University. It was the seventh postseason bid for the men’s basketball program in the Division I era and the first since the Eagles played in the 2006 NIT. Georgia Southern has never
Men’s and Women’s Golf
The Georgia Southern men’s golf team earned second place in the Schenkel Invitational in March at Forest Heights Country Club, besting the country’s No. 2-ranked team, Vanderbilt. No. 5 Florida won the tournament by two strokes with NC State and Kentucky fourth and fifth, respectively. The field featured six top-50 teams and 10 top-100 individuals. It was the Eagles’ third top-3 finish at the Schenkel in the last five years. The Georgia Southern women’s golf team overcame an 11-stroke deficit and shot 296 in the final round to win the Spring Break Shootout in March at Lake Jovita Golf Club in Florida, the team’s first title in program history in just its second year of play. The Eagles’ final round score was the lowest of the day by eight strokes. Georgia Southern ranked in the top 3 in par-3, par-4 and par-5 scoring this week, and the Eagles’ 165 pars were the second-highest total. GS also ranked fourth with 29 birdies on the week.
Swimming and Diving
Georgia Southern earned a fourth-place finish at the 2017 Coastal Collegiate Sports Association Championships with eight personal records and a new school record. Bre Stuart garnered a fourthplace finish in the 200 Breaststroke. Kaylyn Thomas placed ninth in the 200 Butterfly, setting a new school record with a 2:03.60. “I am very proud of how our team performed overall this week,” said Head Coach Laura Thomas. “It’s been a great first season for me. We have a young team, and we have grown a lot this year. I am looking forward to getting back to work so that next season will be even better.”
Georgia Southern redshirt senior Alex Beecher was named second-team All-Sun Belt for the second straight season. The libero ranked seventh in the country and first in the Sun Belt in total digs and is averaging 5.09 digs and 1.03 assists a set. She was named the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week twice in 2016. Beecher broke her own school record for digs in a season with 616, passing the old record of 604 set in 2012. She has recorded 20-plus digs in 14 matches this season and 48 contests in her career. Already the school’s all-time leader, she has 2,363 digs for her career, 39 shy of moving into the top-25 in NCAA history.