AUGUSTA, GA – With the final games of the 2017 regular season in the books, the Peach Belt Conference has released the bracket for the men's soccer tournament championship, which begins on Tuesday. In a change from previous years, the top six teams will advance to tournament play with the top two teams receiving a bye in the quarterfinals. The third and fourth seeds will host the fifth and sixth seeds on Tuesday on the campus of the higher seeds. The two winners of those games will join the top two seeds at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga., Nov. 3 and 5 where the semifinals and finals will be played for the 10th straight year.
Lander captured the PBC regular-season championship, the top seed in the tournament and a first-round bye following their 3-0 win over Georgia Southwestern on Saturday. The Bearcats were also the regular-season champions in 2016 and advanced to the tournament championship game.
Young Harris is the #2 seed having wrapped up conference play earlier in the week. The Mountain Lions are the three-time defending tournament champions and are ranked #17 in the nation in the latest United Soccer Coaches poll.
North Georgia secured the #3 seed earlier in the week and will host a quarterfinal match on Tuesday. The Nighthawks advanced to Blanchard Woods for the second time in program history last season.
Flagler defeated Clayton State 2-1 on Saturday to secure the #4 seed and a first-round home game. The Saints are unbeaten in their last three games heading into the PBC and finished with a 4-3 conference mark.
Clayton State and USC Aiken finished in a tie for the fifth and sixth seeds. The PBC tiebreaker first looks at head-to-head results, but the two teams tied in their regular-season meeting on Oct. 21. The next step in the tiebreak examines results against the top-seeded team in the standings, followed by #2 and so on until the tie is broken.
Clayton State will take the #5 seed at this point thanks to their win over Young Harris on Oct. 18. YHC defeated USC Aiken 3-2 at the end of September. The Lakers will now have to travel back to St. Augustine and face Flagler once again.
USC Aiken is the sixth seed and will travel to North Georgia on Tuesday. The Pacers reached the PBC championship game in 2012 and 2014, the first time as the #8 seed.
Quarterfinal game times will be released on Monday. The PBC Tournament website can be found here.
2017 PBC Men's Soccer
Tuesday, Oct. 31 (Hosted by higher seed)
#6 USC Aiken at #3 North Georgia
#5 Clayton State at #4 Flagler
Friday, Nov. 3 (Blanchard Woods Park)
4-5 Winner vs. #1 Lander
3-6 Winner vs. #2 Young Harris