PBC Final Four Womens Soccer Teams to Meet in Evans
AUGUSTA, GA -- A remarkable 2009 Peach Belt Conference
women’s soccer season will draw to a conclusion this weekend
as the final four teams remaining in the PBC Tournament meet at
Blanchard Woods Park as part of the PBC-GEICO Championship Series.
The weekend will begin with a pair of semifinal matches starting at
5:00 pm Friday night with a second game at 7:30. The winners of
those two matches will meet in the championship game on Sunday at
Friday night’s first game pairs two teams on hot streaks as second-seeded Armstrong Atlantic State meets #3 seed Lander. Armstrong Atlantic State enters the match with a 13-3-3 overall record and a convincing 3-0 win over UNC Pembroke in Tuesday’s first round. The Pirates have reached the PBC Championship twice in the last three years, but hope 2009 will bring their first title. AASU will look to senior forward Kristin Burton for scoring. Burton became the PBC’s all-time goals leader in 2009 and now has 90 in her career. 2009 has been Burton’s most productive season yet as she has a career-best and conference-leading 26 goals and 11 assists heading into Friday night’s game. AASU is the top-scoring team in the Peach Belt, averaging 3.11 goals per game and also has the fourth-best defense in the league.
Lander will try to avenge a 3-0 loss to Armstrong Atlantic State back on Sept. 12. Since that game, the Bearcats have gone 9-2-1 including a tight 1-0 win over Flagler in the first round of the tournament on Tuesday. Lander is a team with a variety of weapons as 12 different players have scored goals this season. Freshman sensation Jamie Shaw leads the team in points with 21 while Christina Barbour leads with nine goals, currently tied for seventh in the PBC. Lander’s defense is among the best in the PBC having allowed only 10 goals to be scored against them, second-best in the conference, and the team has nine shutouts and a 0.61 goals against average, also second in the league. Sophomore goalkeeper Chelsea Beetch has played over 1200 minutes in goal this year with a 0.64 GAA, third-best in the league.
Friday’s second match brings an intriguing matchup as #4 GCSU meets eighth-seeded Montevallo. Georgia College & State University returns to the semifinal round for the third straight season but are looking for their first place in the championship game. The Bobcats have not suffered a loss in their last seven games and reached the semis with a 2-1 win over fifth-seeded North Georgia. GCSU is another team that relies primarily on defense with only 14 goals allowed and a 0.65 goals against average, both third-best in the league. Junior goalkeeper Mary Rob Plunkett has been named the keeper of the week four times in 2009. She leads the league in save percentage and is second with a 0.50 GAA. Offensively, Megan McAlpin leads the team with five goals and six assists while Jamie Nevin has four goals.
Montevallo will be the team most are watching on Friday night. The Falcons pulled off the biggest upset in tournament history as they defeated Columbus State 1-0. CSU was the #1 seed in the tournament as well as four-time defending champions and ranked #6 in the nation. UM became the first eight seed to win in the PBC Tournament and hope to keep the streak alive in the semifinals in their first year as a part of the Peach Belt. UM may be the eighth seed, but the Falcons have a win over Lander and tied GCSU, both on the road. Paige Scott leads the team with six goals while Natalie Martineau is tied for fourth in the PBC with eight assists.
The games on Friday and Sunday are only a part of the soccer celebration at Blanchard Woods over the weekend. On Saturday, the Peach Belt will host the community engagement event Breakfast With the Champions which gives local youth soccer players the chance to interact with collegiate student-athletes. The program will feature a free breakfast and mini-clinic for soccer players age 7-12. The event begins at 9:30 am on Saturday at Blanchard Woods and is open to all children ages 7-12 and is free. Parents can register their kids online at peachbeltconference.org or at the site on Saturday.