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Soccer team concludes regular season, advances to SSAC Tournament semifinals

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The SPSU soccer team ended their regular season ranked No. 17 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Men’s Soccer Coaches’ Poll and with an 11-4-1 overall and 7-3-1 conference record.

The Hornets began their postseason as the No. 5 seed at the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Tournament with a 3-0 win over Belhaven University (Jackson, Miss.) on Sat., Nov. 3, in Jackson, Miss. SPSU will take on the top-seeded University of Mobile (Ala.) – which is ranked No. 7 in the NAIA – at 4:30 p.m. (EST) on Thurs., Nov. 8, in the semifinals in Montgomery, Ala

The Hornets started the season ranked No. 3 and rose to as high as No.2-their highest ranking in the six-year program history.

For the first time in over two years, an SPSU player earned SSAC Player of the Week honors in mid-September. Freshman midfielder Adis Islamovic was the Offensive Player of the Week for Sept. 17-23. Later in the season, senior goalkeeper Dennis Kramer earned SSAC Defensive Player of the Week honors and was named the NAIA Defensive Player of the Week for his performance during Oct. 1-7. Kramer was the first Hornet to win the national award.

Another stand-out for the Hornets this season is senior forward Emeka Maduka. He holds multiple NAIA Division 1 individual rankings including No. 2 in game-winning goals per game (0.400), No. 3 in total game-winning goals (6) and No. 6 in shots per game (5.070).

Also, junior defender Gabe Warner – a biology major with a 3.65 cumulative grade point average who is considered one of SPSU’s top defenders – earned a spot on the College Sports Information Directors of America Capital One Academic All-District 2 Team at the College Division level.

Last year, SPSU won the SSAC Championship for the first time in history. Also for the first time, the Hornets advanced to the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Tournament before falling short in an overtime loss.