November 3, 2011

Lady Saints to Battle Columbus State in PBC Tourney

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

PBC Tournament Website

DAHLONEGA, GA – After a dominating opening round victory over Clayton State, the 2nd-seeded and 13th-ranked North Georgia women's soccer team is back in the PBC Tournament Final Four for the second straight year. 

In a matchup that has quickly become one of the best rivalries in the league, the Lady Saints will take on 3rd-seeded Columbus State in the semifinals at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Georgia, Friday evening at 5:00 p.m.

Both semifinal games will be played at adjacent fields with North Georgia and Columbus State playing side-by-side with top-seeded Armstrong Atlantic and 4th-seeded Lander for the right to compete for the title.

Earlier this season, Columbus State cost North Georgia their chance for a regular season championship by handing the Lady Saints what would be their only loss of the season to date. A 20th minute goal was the difference, and the final seconds of that 1-0 defeat is still fresh in the minds of everyone standing on the cold wet sidelines that night in Columbus.

Since that loss, the Lady Saints have responded better than anyone could have hoped, going unbeaten since and setting up round two with Columbus State, and this time with much more at stake. The last time these two clubs met in the PBC Tournament was in 2010, and it decided the fate of North Georgia's season. A 4-2 loss in the championship game sent the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament and abruptly ended the Lady Saints' remarkable postseason run. 

One thing to expect when these two programs meet is that this game will be close and defense will take it over. North Georgia and Columbus State sport the best two defenses in the league, allowing a combined 23 goals on the year in 36 games played. In comparison, five other teams in the Peach Belt Conference have allowed more goals on the season than these two programs combined during the 2011 campaign.

The Lady Saints will arrive in Evans, Georgia, Thursday afternoon in preparation for Friday's semifinal matchup, and will practice at Blanchard Woods Park, giving all the new faces a chance to get familiar with the surroundings. Only six starters from last year's "Final Four" appearance return, so plenty of key players will be making their debut on the biggest stage of their young careers.

North Georgia without question played their worst half of soccer during the first half at Columbus State, and it cost them their only blemish on the schedule this season. While the Lady Saints dominated the second half and had plenty of chances to score, it will be important to get off to a fast start and make that stellar Cougar defense prove they can stop some of the best forwards the league has to offer.