Clayton State women travel to No. 11 North Georgia for first round of Peach Belt Conference Tournament
MORROW, Ga. – October 31, 2011 – Playing arguably the best soccer of any team in the Peach Belt Conference down the stretch of the regular season, the Clayton State Laker women's soccer team will hit the road for the first round of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament on Tuesday.
The Lakers are seeded seventh in the tournament and will travel to second-seeded and 11th-ranked North Georgia for a 4:30 p.m. contest in Dahlonega on Tuesday. The winner will advance to Friday's semifinals in Augusta, and the PBC Tournament championship is set for Sunday in Augusta.
During the regular season, North Georgia (14-1-1, 8-1-1 Peach Belt) prevailed 2-0 in the game played at Laker Field on Sept. 28. Since that game, however, the Lakers finished up 6-1-2 in their final nine games. In fact, Clayton State allowed only two goals during that time span with eight shutouts. That gave the Lakers a 9-6-2 overall record – the first winning season for Clayton State since 2007.
The Lakers, under first-year head coach Gareth O'Sullivan, have done it with defense and the strong play of junior goalkeeper Laoise O'Driscoll. In her first season in the Laker net, O'Driscoll has lowered her goals-against average in half down the stretch to 0.86. In addition, she is ranked second in the Peach Belt in saves with 85.
Over the last 874 minutes, O'Driscoll has allowed only two goals – both in an overtime defeat against Columbus State. Plus, she has recorded nine shutouts – the second-most in a season by a Laker goalkeeper. As a team, Clayton State has recorded 10 shutouts this season, equaling the single-season mark set by the 2005 Laker squad.
This marks the second time that North Georgia and Clayton State have squared off in the Peach Belt Conference since the Lady Saints joined the conference in 2005. Clayton State won the first encounter 4-0 in the first round of the 2006 PBC Tournament. That also marked the last time Clayton State advanced past the first round of the PBC Tournament.