September 29, 2010

Saints Squander Early Lead, Fall to Clayton State in OT

DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia men's soccer team jumped all over 23rd-ranked Clayton State in the early going, but the Lakers rallied down the stretch to pull out a 4-3 overtime victory over the Saints on Wednesday evening in Peach Belt Conference action.

North Georgia drops their second straight game, falling to 4-2-3 overall on the year and 1-2-1 in the Peach Belt Conference, while Clayton State gets back on track, improving to 8-1 on the season and 2-1 in the league.

The Saints started the game on fire, jumping all over the Lakers in the early going and scoring the game's first goal in the 9th minute as Ben Chedgy found the back of the net for his fourth goal of the year. Ben Stegman and Chris Bishop picked up assists on the play.

North Georgia added to their lead in the 22nd minute as Ben Stegman found an opening in the box fought through a pair of defenders before being fouled in the box for a penalty kick. Max Angel came on and drilled the ensuing penalty kick to put the Saints in front by a pair.

The Lakers responded in the 39th minute as Ryan Pugh took a pass from Roger Boniface and found the back of the net to cut the North Georgia lead in half at 2-1. Clayton State went right back to work in the 41st minute and knotted the score as Brett Neilson lined up 10 yards outside the box and drilled a laser inside the right post to make it 2-2 heading into intermission.

Pugh tallied his second goal of the game just 10 minutes into the second half in the 56th minute as Arturo Cruz sent a shot on goal that was saved by Rade Tanaskovic, but the rebound found the foot of Pugh who sent it home to give the Lakers a 3-2 edge.

The Saints would go down to the wire but finally found the equalizer in the 87th minute as Chris Griffith dribbled around a defender and sent a cross to the far side of the box, finding Gray Phelps who headed it home to make it a 3-3 game.

After the regulation buzzer sounded, Clayton State tallied the golden goal at the 93:38 mark as Matty Phillips recorded an unassisted score with a shot inside the left post to send the Lakers into celebration.

Clayton State held a 15-8 edge in shots, while North Georgia recorded eight corners to six for the Lakers. Tanaskovic tallied six saves, while allowing all four Clayton State goals, while Brian Garcia picked up just one save and surrendered three goals.

North Georgia will have a week off before returning to action Wednesday, October 6, traveling to Erskine College for a 7:00 p.m. matchup with the Flying Fleet in non-conference action.