ATLANTA--Sophomore Evan Scott's second-half hat trick led the Georgia State men's soccer team to a 4-2 victory over Drexel on Sunday at Panthersville.
Senior Ayokunle Lumpkin scored the game's first goal just 2:33 into the match for the Panthers' (10-3-1) quickest strike of the season so far. He took an outstanding back post feed from Jamal Keene who was standing just beyond the left corner of the box. Sophomore Caleb Kernan narrowly missed getting his head on the ball but Lumpkin, who was all alone in front, buried the cross for his third goal of the season.
Scott's three goals each came within a 15-minute stretch in the second half. It's the first hat trick from a Georgia State player since Oct. 18, 1997 when Brian Boerstler fired in three goals in a 4-3 victory for GSU over Campbell.
GSU has now separated itself from a crowded pack of Colonial Athletic Association teams and sits alone in fourth place in the conference standings. The Panthers prepare for a big week as they travel to No. 17 Old Dominion and host James Madison, two of the three teams tied for first in the CAA.
"That's huge for our team right now especially because we have a young team, to continue into conference play in fourth place is a great feeling especially with five games left," Lumpkin said.
Scott ran off the bench in the 71st minute for a substitution just prior to a Georgia State corner kick. After the attempt was cleared, freshman Bo Stroup sent in a long cross from the right side that met Scott's head near the far post. Scott buried the ball and knotted the game at two goals apiece. It was Stroup's second assist in as many games.
Scott's second score came off a nearly identical feed, this time from junior Eric Lawrence. Scott headed home his second of the game to put GSU up 3-2 with just less than six minutes remaining. He completed the hat trick less than 20 seconds later when junior Gimel Gordon made a fantastic individual effort to spring free and played a ball through the middle of the Drexel defense to Scott. The sophomore found the ball and buried it with his left foot for his second goal in the 20-second span and third of the game.
"His hat trick was fantastic, the game is a lot easier when you have a guy putting the ball in the back of the net," Surrency said, "If we can get one guy or a collection of guys to put the ball in the back of the net it's going to make us a dangerous team."
Junior goalkeeper Vincent Foermer made two saves to earn the victory over the Dragons (3-8-2, 2-3-1). Foermer improved to 5-1 on the year with the victory.
The 10 wins are the most GSU has had since 2000 when the Panthers coached by Kerem Daser went 12-9 and won the Trans America Athletic Conference championship.
It was a come-from-behind victory for GSU as it fought back after the un-phased Drexel calmly scored two goals to answer Lumpkin's first tally. The Dragons answered the first goal just more than three minutes later when sophomore Ken Tribbett got his head on a free kick from junior Brandon Zeller and found the back of the net in the sixth minute.
The Dragons held GSU scoreless the rest of the first half, but narrowly conceded a 38th-minute goal after Lumpkin's diving attempt at a header missed by inches. The Dragons broke out of halftime and applied steady pressure on the Panthers. It wasn't long before junior Malcolm LeBourne took a pass and dribbled from the left wing to the top of the box and rifled a low shot inside the left post past a diving Foermer to give Drexel a 2-1 lead in the 51st minute.
The Panthers weathered a few more chances before the offensive attack clicked to which Scott added his scoring touch.
"The way we finished the game, scoring those three goals late, that's something we can hang our hat on moving forward," Surrency said, "Hopefully the guys see that and see what it's going to take to win games."
The Panthers held a slight 10-9 advantage in shots and the two goals the Panthers conceded tied a season high for goals allowed. GSU only allowed two goals once before in a 3-2 win over FIU on Sept. 18.
Georgia State's week ahead will go a long way in determining the final standings in the CAA. GSU travels to Norfolk, Va. to face No. 17 Old Dominion on Wednesday (7 p.m.) before hosting James Madison (2 p.m.), who is receiving votes for the top 25, this Sunday. The two teams are tied for the lead in the CAA standings.
"All the CAA games are huge, we don't take any of them for granted," Surrency said, "With where the standings are, it makes it even bigger. The CAA is a brutal conference and we have to be ready every single game."
Visit www.GeorgiaStateSports.com prior to both matches for previews, statistics and all news concerning Georgia State men's soccer. Stay tuned throughout the week for links to live stats and recaps with box scores following the matches.