October 22, 2011

Saints Score Early, Pound Lander for 3-0 Peach Belt Win

Contact Joey Daniels, jddani9448@northgeorgia.edu

DAHLONEGA, GA – An offensive explosion and great team play by the Saints on Saturday night led them to a 3-0 bashing of Lander in Peach Belt action.

North Georgia (8-6-1, 4-3 PBC) played arguably its best soccer of the season against Lander on a chilly night in Dahlonega. In a match that saw the seniors honored prior to kickoff, the Saints did not disappoint those in attendance. Scoring three goals for just the third time this season, North Georgia left no doubt who the better team was on the night.

Gray Phelps, who has been recently acclimated to the forward position, scored his third goal of the season to get the trio of goals started. Phelps received a pretty pass inside the box from Jamie Gleeson, after Gleeson received the corner kick. The senior made his own highlight of the night in what could possibly be his final home game.

James Dobbin gave North Georgia the 2-0 lead in the 43rd minute when Juan Hurtado dropped a beautiful heel-pass to Dobbin on the move. Dobbin rewarded Hurtado with his pass and buried the shot in front of the Lander keeper. It was just Dobbin's first goal of the season, in what coach Pat Parris hopes is the first of many. Dobbin came on the pitch to spell Phelps for a bit and showed Parris it was the right move. North Georgia headed into the half up 2-0.

The shot of the night came from Gustavo Cunha in the 59th minute. Cunha drilled a missile from about 25 yards out to all but bury the Bearcats. After Cunha received a beautiful touch pass from Hurtado following a corner, he took one dribble and amazed the crowd finishing upper 90 far side of the keeper. It was the midfielder's second goal of the season, and it was much deserved.

Arguably the story of the night was the return of Saints goalkeeper Rade Tanaskovic. The senior dislocated his elbow earlier in the season and it appeared as though he would not return. Tanaskovic picked a perfect night to return between the posts. His defense provided him a wall all night and Tanaskovic recorded his fifth win of the season. Finishing with five saves in the game and earning another shutout in his illustrious career, Tanaskovic returned back to his all-conference ways.

The defense provided another zero on the scoreboard for the Saints following the golden goal win over Georgia Southwestern on Wednesday. Ben Tayi, Jesy Phelps and Chris Bishop were at the top of their game once again. Switching to just three backs is proving to be a key and aggressive move for coach Parris and his Saints.

Lander (7-6-1,4-2-1) finished with 15 shots in the game and all but eliminated their chance at a regular season Peach Belt Conference Championship.

North Georgia has a week off before the last game of the regular season next Saturday. The Saints travel to Francis Marion in hopes of securing the No. 4 seed in the PBC Tournament and hosting a home game. The kickoff is set for 2:00 PM.

- The men's soccer senior class was honored before kickoff against Lander -