Eagles Fly From Last To First For 2012 SoCon Title.

Emily Hirano

How did that song go that the Grateful Dead used to sing? What a long, strange trip it’s been!

When Georgia Southern’s women’s team dropped a 2-0 decision to Furman in mid-October, it appeared the Eagles were headed nowhere. But appearances can be deceiving.

From that point on, for the next five games, it would be nothing but success, as the Eagles earned the last spot in the Southern Conference tournament. A 2-1 win over Wofford snapped a five-game winless streak, and a 1-0 win over Davidson, extended the season for a magical run at the league championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament.

In the SoCon tourney the trip got even stranger. The eighth-seeded Eagles knocked off #1 seed UNCG, 1-0, in the opening round on the Spartans’ home field. Nora El-Shami’s goal with 1:48 remaining in the game was the winner.

In the semifinals the Eagles got a golden goal from freshman Emily Hirano in the 102th minute to edge Elon, 1-0. It would only get better for Georgia Southern.

Facing the team that last defeated them, the Eagles would clinch their first SoCon championship with a 5-4 penalty kick shootout win over Furman after a scoreless draw. With it went the Eagles first-ever trip to the NCAAs.

“Our path to the championship was a long strange trip, but it built our character and probaby was the reason for our success,” said head coach Lindsey Vanderspiegel.

The trip would end in Winston-Salem, NC, with a 4-0 first-round loss to Wake Forest. There would be no magic left this time to erase four unanswered second-half goals.
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