September 21, 2011

No. 16 Lady Saints to Battle Montevallo on Saturday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Beall, jdbeall@northgeorgia.edu

DAHLONEGA, GA – The 16th-ranked North Georgia women's soccer team looks to continue their perfect season on Saturday evening when they travel to Alabama to take on the University of Montevallo in another Peach Belt Conference contest.

The Falcons will look to take down North Georgia for the first time since entering the PBC in 2009, while the Lady Saints have their sights set on continuing their best start in school and making a push towards the program's first-ever regular season championship.

The top of the standings meet the bottom as North Georgia leads the league, while the Falcons round out the conference and will need to secure some upsets to make their way up the standings and qualify for the Peach Belt Conference tournament. Montevallo is 9-8 on their home field over the last three years.

Saturday, September 24, 6:00 PM EST, vs Montevallo, Varsity Field

Montevallo Falcons Body of Work
Current Record: 2-5-0 (0-2-0 PBC)
Conference Rank: 11th
Conference Prediction in 2011: 7th
Goal Differential in 2011: Even

Falcons Struggling Early – Montevallo has struggled through the first portion of their schedule, going 2-5 to open the year, including a pair of two-game losing streaks. The Falcons were picked to finish seventh in the league according the league's preseason poll and are currently last in the standings as the only team in the PBC to drop their first two conference games of the season.

Peach Belt Woes – In their third year since entering the PBC, Montevallo has yet to have a winning record, recording an overall mark of 7-12-3. With a pair of losses in their only conference games this season, the Falcons have managed just one goal, falling 2-1 at Flagler, before Georgia College routed Montevallo 4-0 on Tuesday evening.

History of the Matchup – North Georgia is 3-1-1 all-time against the Falcons, including back-to-back wins over the last two years. While holding an 11-7 goal advantage all-time, the Lady Saints have outscored Montevallo 7-1 over the last two games, coming out on top 4-0 last year and 3-1 in 2009.

Taylor's Offense – The Montevallo offense has fallen square on the shoulders of Taylor Kerr who has a team-leading two goals and three assists for seven total points on the season. The Birmingham, Alabama, native had four goals and two assists a year ago, and has been forced to step in as the go-to scorer for head coach Patricia Hughes and the struggling Falcon offense. In UM's four losses during the 2011 campaign the offense has been non existent, recording just one goal and getting shutout three times, including each of the last two games.

Kelsey Martin's Success – In Kelsey Martin's two career games against the Falcons she has had plenty of success, scoring two goals and adding an assist in 2009, before recording the final goal in a 4-0 victory a year ago. She has seven points all-time against the Falcons and will look to continue stellar play against the purple and yellow.

Balaam's Return – North Georgia first year assistant coach Stacey Balaam is making her return to Montevallo after playing her collegiate career for the Falcons and serving as the assistant coach for two years. During her playing days, Balaam was a two-time All-American, three-time All-Region selection and four-time All-Conference pick. The Lady Saints are a perfect 6-0 since Balaam joined the squad during the offseason.

Penston's PassionKelly Penston paced North Georgia on Tuesday afternoon in their road victory against Belmont Abbey, scoring both goals to keep the Lady Saints as the only unbeaten team in the Southeast Region. The sophomore has carried her team with intensity and poise all season, scoring five goals over the last five games to take the team lead. She is also just one score off the Peach Belt Conference pace set by Flagler's Loren Cate who's hat trick 10 days ago has her leading the league with six total goals.

Weekly Honors – While the offense has done the job with 16 goals in six games, the defense has been equally impressive and was rewarded this week when Kirsten Ross was named the PBC Goalkeeper of the Week and Megan Morrow was honored as the league's Defender of the Week. The Lady Saints have allowed the fewest goals in the conference with two, and Ross leads the Peach Belt with a 0.33 goals against average.

National Spotlight – The Lady Saints garnered their highest ranking in school history on Tuesday afternoon when the latest NSCAA Top 25 Poll featured North Georgia as the No. 16 team in the country. Having not been ranked all year, an upset of UNC Pembroke dropped the Braves eight spots to No. 23 and made way for Chris Adams' squad who makes a national ranking appearance for the second straight year.