Clayton State Pulls Out 5-4 PK Thriller at North Georgia; Fraire Sends Lakers to PBC Semifinals
By Joshua J. Darling, Sports Information Director
DAHLONEGA, Ga. - A total of 110 minutes of scoreless action set up a dramatic finish as Clayton State (3-10-3, 2-5-0 PBC) outlasted North Georgia (7-6-2, 4-3-0 PBC) in a battle of attrition as they claimed a thrilling 5-4 penalty kick shootout victory in a Peach Belt Conference Quarterfinal and NCAA Division II men's soccer game on Tuesday, October 30. Officially it goes down as a 0-0 tie for both clubs.
With neither team able to find the back of the net through two halves and both overtime periods, it set the stage for one of the most exciting plays in college soccer - the penalty kick shootout. This, though, would have a twist as both teams went to their backup keepers, Cade Minton for UNG and junior goalkeeper Leuri Fraire (Dalton, Ga.) for the Lakers.
After not scoring for the entire night it would be the opposite in the shootout. It wouldn't start out that way as both clubs missed on the opening round with freshman forward Brad Kay (Manchester, England) sending one high and the Nighthawks' Adam Farrell seeing his shot saved.
Sophomore midfielder Mitro Turunen (Vantaa, Finland) then out guessed the keeper, going to the left corner while he dove right for a 1-0 lead. That would be quickly matched by Jarrod Smalley as he also went to the left.
Deadlocked again, junior defender Hector Gutierrez (Asheville, N.C.) drove one into the top of the net to make it 2-1 but Alex Grant would match for UNG, taking a slow approach and poking it to the right corner to knot it up again. The hits would keep on coming as redshirt-junior Carlos Naranjo (Fayetteville, Ga.) powered one to the right corner and Prince Domafriyie matched inside the left post, just beating the keeper, to make it 3-3.
Senior defender Kwaku Dwamena (Lorton, Va.) stepped up for the Lakers, approaching the ball as though he as going to drive it to the left then switched quickly to the right for the go-ahead score. Gabriel Garcia then just barely evened it up at 4-4 with a shot up under the crossbar.
Now through the first five attempts, the shootout moved into sudden death. Redshirt-junior midfielder Connor Atkinson (Liverpool, England), scoreless on the season, took full advantage of his opportunity and slipped a ball past the keeper to the right side for a 5-4 lead.
Needing to provide the equalizer to continue, UNG's Evan Davis stepped up. Fraire, having come in cold with no minutes played on the night, was then presented with the chance to send his team to the semifinals. Davis sent an attempt to the right side and Fraire stonewalled him to lock in the 5-4 PK victory before being mobbed by his teammates.
"First, salute to our brothers at North Georgia," said head coach Pete Petersen. "With those guys it's always a slug it out, down to the wire type of game most of the time and it certainly was tonight. For our guys, this is the first time this season I saw belief. They were confident and quietly angry. Really proud of them. Now on to Lander!"
From the very beginning, postseason soccer would be on full display in the first half as defense was the order of the day. Over the first 45 minutes the Lakers would fire off seven shots, putting four on net, while UNG had five with just one on net. None of those, however, would find their mark as the clubs headed to the break with nothing decided, deadlocked at 0-0.
The second 45 minutes would go almost the same way as the team's registered the exact same number of shots as the first half with the lone difference being one fewer shot on goal for Clayton State.
The latter would have the best set of opportunities to break up the double shutout as Kay, Dwamena and junior defender Ignacio Perez (Madrid, Spain) fired off shots within the 87thminute, the first two of which required saves. UNG would not have a rally and the teams headed to overtime.
In that frame, the Nighthawks would outshoot Clayton State 3-0, including a dangerously close attempt with 27 seconds to go. That would come off the foot of Eren Ozer and was just knocked wide of the left corner to send the teams to double OT.
North Georgia would continue to dominate on the offensive end as they ripped off four shots to the Lakers one in that final 10 minute session. None of those shots, however, would be on goal as two were wide, one was high and the other blocked. Clayton State's lone attempt came in the opening minute and went wide. That then set the stage for a dramatic finish.
Despite all the scoring in the shootout, there was none of that in regulation and certainly not overtime. That being the case, North Georgia was led by Ozer with three shots, two on net. He was joined by Grant with three shots and one on frame. Matt Sharman played all 110 minutes, didn't allow a goal and made six saves to finish the season at 6-5-2.
It was much the same for the Lakers as they fired off 15 shots with seven on net but none on target. Kay finished with four shots, one on frame, and Dwamena had three shots on two on goal. Freshman goalkeeper Kari Puustinen (Orimattila, Finland) got Clayton State to overtime with a scoreless 110 minutes and five saves while Fraire took control in the shootout. Puustinen is credited with tie and moves to 2-6-1 on the year.
The Lakers now advance to the PBC Tournament Semifinals for the second straight year, and will face a familiar foe in that game. They will take on No. 7 Lander, not only who they faced in last year's game but played two games ago. Game time is set for 2 p.m. in Evans, Georgia.
Clayton State is now 3-0 all-time against North Georgia in the PBC Tournament ... the previous two victories were both 1-0 affairs ... the first came in the semifinals in Morrow on November 2, 2007 with the other in the quarterfinal round on November 1, 2011 in Dahlonega.
Drakenhammar nails winner as Patriots advance in PBC Tournament
By Michael Hawkins
FLORENCE, SC – Senior Oliver Drankenhammar scored on a 13-yard shot in the 52nd minute to propel Francis Marion University to a 1-0 victory over Flagler College in a quarterfinal match of the 2018 Peach Belt Conference Men's Soccer Tournament, Tuesday night (Oct. 30) on Hartzler Field.
The fourth-seeded Patriots improve to 9-6-0 and advance to face second-ranked and top-seeded Young Harris College in the semifinals on Friday at 11 a.m. in Evans, Ga. Tuesday's win was the first ever for FMU over the Saints in Florence.
Fifth-seeded Flagler ends its season at 5-10-1.
The winning sequence was keyed by a long through ball from FMU freshman Sam Pollard to Drakenhammar. The 6-6 forward senior dribbled into the box, put on the brakes, and then slotted his attempt from the right side past Flagler goalkeeper Mel Broughton and into the left-side netting. It was Drakenhammar's fifth score of the season and the 15th of his career in his final on-campus appearance.
Francis Marion held a 13-9 edge in shots and took three of the match's five corner kicks.
Patriot freshman goalkeeper Kristoffer Gregenaes registered three saves en route to his fifth clean sheet of the season. Broughton also finished with a trio of stops.
FMU looked to take an early lead in the match's fifth minute. Freshman Sidney Warden took a cross from the left side and fired a 17-yard shot toward an open net that was blocked by a Saints defender and the rebound went to Pollard, but his attempt was pushed away by Broughton resulting in a corner kick. The Patriots limited Flagler to only two shots over the opening 45 minutes, both of which came from long range.
The Patriots again threatened early in the second stanza. Freshman defender Magnus Hoejland found himself open near the 6-yard box on a free kick from the left side, but his attempt slid just outside the left post.
Several minutes later (50th minute), Gregenaes kept the match scoreless with a leaping push save of an 18-yard shot by Flagler's Tryggvi Magnusson
Following Drakenhammar's score at 51:35, Flagler recorded two more serious scoring opportunities. Magnusson fed the ball to the left side of the penalty area where Dan McGuire shot just wide of the right post from 14 yards out. In the 84th minute, a Saints' build-up resulted in a cross from the right sideline that tantalizing rolled along the top of the 6-yard box, but no player was able to make contact.
Drakenhammar led FMU with four shots. The Patriot starting backline in front of Gregenaes consisted of senior Julian Kersting, junior Matthew Bainbridge, and Hoejland.