From Staff Reports
Two goals in a two-minute span late in the first half propelled the Clayton College & State University men's soccer team to a 3-0 victory over the University of North Florida on a rainy Wednesday in the first round of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament at Laker Field in Morrow.
With the win, Clayton State, seeded fourth in the tournament, improves to 11-5-1 overall and advances to the semifinals of the PBC Tournament in Spartanburg, S.C.
The Lakers will have their work cutout for them, however, facing the host, the top seed and the nation's second-ranked team in the University of South Carolina Spartanburg Saturday at noon.
The loss for North Florida ends the Ospreys season with an 8-8-1 record.
Clayton State leading scorer Pa'Alasan Jahumpa scored the game-winner in the 42-minute mark of the match, drilling a shot from 18 yards in the top of the net past the outstretched arms of UNF junior keeper Scooter Ross.
Jahumpa, a freshman forward, scored his 10th goal of the season off a short touch pass from junior forward Anthony Wright.
The Lakers, winners of six their last seven matches, struck again in the 43rd minute of the match as Wright headed a shot off the top post and into the net from eight yards. Freshman defender Andre Rall (Johannesburg, South Africa) set up the score on a direct kick.
North Florida played a man down for almost the entire match as an Osprey player was red-carded four minutes into the game after pulling a Clayton State player down on a breakaway opportunity.
In the second half, the Lakers added a little insurance early as sophomore forward Scott LeClerc, who played high school soccer at Jonesboro,scored on a shot in the upper right of the net off a cross from junior forward Shaun Baddock
Despite playing a man down, the Ospreys had several chances to score and finished the match with 14 shots, seven on goal.
The Lakers also had 14 shots with five of them on goal.
Ross finished with seven saves, while Clayton State keeper
Brian Jones recorded his third shutout of the season and finished with five saves.
The winner of Saturday's PBC Tournament semifinal match will advance to the finals of the tournament in Spartanburg at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Clayton State lost 5-2 earlier this season to USCS and trails in the all-time series against the Rifles 8-3.
The Lakers' win on Wednesday was the program's first win in the PBC Tournament since winning the PBC Conference Championship in 2000 at Francis Marion University.