EVANS, GA – USC Aiken scored two second-half goals to break a tie and edge the Francis Marion Patriots 3-1 in the semifinals of the PBC men's soccer tournament championship at Blanchard Woods Park on Friday. With the win, the Pacers (14-4-1) advance to the PBC title game on Sunday where they will face top-seeded Young Harris at 1:00 pm.
USC Aiken wasted little time in putting pressure on the Patriot defense. Andre Simmond sent in a free kick from 22 yards out that was put home on a header from Adria Dalmau and a 1-0 USCA lead.
Francis Marion responded 15 minutes later as Ryan Kolenda scored his first goal of the season off an assist from Sven Ricke. The two teams went into halftime tied at one.
After moderate offensive opportunities in the first half, both teams put defense to the test in the final 45. USC Aiken broke through at the 56:50 mark as Jan Wester cleaned up a loose ball in the box for a 2-1 lead. Jordan Misiri, the PBC Freshman of the Year, gave the Pacers a 3-1 edge as he put home a Simmond corner kick in the 62nd minute.
Francis Marion (12-4-2) had several second-half opportunities of their own, but were unable to convert. Most of that was due to the play of USCA keeper Joshua Poissant, who knocked one shot just over the crossbar and made a diving save on another. Even when the Patriots were able to get past Poissant, they were turned away as a great scoring chance later in the game clanged off the post.
Poissant finished the game with five saves while FMU keeper Mike Warn had four. FMU outshot USCA 15-14 while USCA held the edge in corners 8-7.
USCA makes their second appearance in the PBC championship game in the last three years and their third overall. They will be looking for their first tournament championship on Sunday.