November 1, 2011

Saints to Host Clayton State in PBC Tournament Opener

Contact: Joey Daniels,

PBC Tournament Championship Home

DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia men's soccer team owns the No. 4 seed in the 2011 Peach Belt Conference Tournament, and will host Clayton State on Tuesday night in the first round.

The Saints will have the benefit of playing in their own backyard to open the tournament on Tuesday against the No. 5 seeded Lakers. The winner of the game will advance to the final four and a trip to Evans, Georgia, for the semi-finals and potential conference championship this coming weekend. The game is set to kickoff at 7:00 PM following the women's first round game.

North Georgia knocked off Francis Marion on Saturday in Florence to secure them a home game in the tournament. Manuel Hernandez scored two goals to lead the Saints, while Gray Phelps added a goal and an assist in the win as well.

It was the third win in a row for head coach Pat Parris and his streaking Saints. North Georgia is the only team in the Peach Belt to have won its last three regular season games. They will look to carry that momentum even further in this week's tournament. North Georgia has to be pleased with earning a home game considering their astounding 6-1 record in Dahlonega this season.

Clayton State and North Georgia met back on September 28, in the Saints most lopsided loss of the season. The Lakers won 4-0 at home and now have to travel to Dahlonega in hopes of keeping their season alive. Clayton has stumbled since that dominating victory, finishing just 2-5 down the stretch.

While Clayton State has to have confidence from the beat down they showed at home, the team's performance has gone in a different direction with North Georgia finishing much stronger than the Lakers. Both teams will need to certainly win this game if they are to have any shot of their season continuing on to the NCAA Tournament. Unlike the women's PBC Tournament however, the winner of the men's conference tournament does not earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The winner of North Georgia and Clayton State face the winner of conference champion Flagler and USC Aiken. That game would be on Friday in Evans, Georgia, kicking off at 7:30 PM.

Pat Parris is 2-4 in the PBC Tournament and has been knocked out in the first round by Flagler the past two seasons. North Georgia is 3-6 all-time in the postseason tournament.

All first-round games will be hosted by the higher seed on Tuesday, Nov. 1.  The winners of those four contests will advance to the PBC final four on Friday, Nov. 4, at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga.  The championship game will be played on Sunday, Nov. 6 at Blanchard Woods.

There has been a different tournament champion the past four seasons with Montevallo winning it all last year. Lander, Francis Marion and Clayton State won the previous three years. The tournament looks to be wide open and there is plenty of good soccer on the horizon in the Peach Belt Conference.

Admission to the first round of the PBC Tournament will be $6.00 for adults, $4.00 for students and free to all North Georgia faculty and students with a valid ID. Children under 3 admitted free. Please remember that dogs are strictly prohibited from the premises and will be enforced for all playoff games.

2011 Peach Belt Conference Men's Soccer Tournament

Tuesday, Nov. 1

#8 USC Aiken at #1 Flagler, 7:00
#7 Francis Marion at #2 Montevallo, 8:00
#6 UNC Pembroke at #3 Lander, 7:00
#5 Clayton State at #4 North Georgia, 7:00

Friday, Nov. 4 - Blanchard Woods Park

8-1 Winner vs. 4-5 Winner, 7:30
6-3 Winner vs. 2-7 Winner, 7:30

Sunday, Nov. 6 - Blanchard Woods Park

Championship Game, 3:30