Women’s Soccer Wins First Regular Season Sun Belt Championship
The Georgia Southern women’s soccer team made history on Oct. 27, as they captured their first regular season conference championship in program history with a 1-0 victory over Georgia State.
The game-winning goal came in the 86th minute from Elis Nemtsov, who volleyed in a free kick from Megan Przybysz to secure the win for the Eagles.
The victory capped off an impressive regular season for the Eagles, who ended the year having shut out their opponents in six consecutive contests and boasted 546 minutes and 58 seconds of keeping their opponents scoreless.
Head Coach Chris Adams expressed his pride in the team’s resilience and ability to deliver the championship in a hostile environment. “I’m incredibly proud of our team. Early on, we were a little inconsistent. But with our sixth shutout in a row, I couldn’t be more proud of our group for their resilience,” said Adams.
The match was not without its challenges for the Eagles, as Georgia State had a golden chance to score right off the opening kick, but freshman goalkeeper Katie Oakley made a crucial save to stop the opportunity. The match remained scoreless at halftime, with Georgia State holding a slim 4-3 edge in shots.
The second half saw the Eagles turn up the pressure, and their persistence paid off with the game-winning goal from Nemtsov, and holding off the Panthers for the final five minutes to secure the program’s first regular-season conference championship since its inception in 1993.
The match was a hard-fought battle, with Georgia State holding a 14-4 edge in shots and both teams having three corner kicks on the evening. Freshman Katie Oakley made four saves for her seventh shutout of the season, and the foul count was even at 14 fouls apiece.
The Eagles entered the 2022 Sun Belt Conference Championships as the No. 1 seed, and entered the quarterfinals in a rematch against Georgia State. The Panthers scored early and held off an Eagles rally and won the game 1-0, knocking Georgia Southern out of contention.
The Eagles finished the 2022 regular season with an overall record of 8-3-5 and a conference record of 7-1-2, and their achievements were recognized in the Sun Belt Conference. Head Coach Chris Adams was named the Sun Belt’s Coach of the Year. Three Eagles — junior defender Sade Heinrichs, redshirt sophomore forward Elis Nemtsov and freshman goalkeeper Katie Oakley — earned all-conference honors. Heinrichs was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, the first major conference award for a Georgia Southern women’s soccer student-athlete since 1999.