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Two Lady Lakers named All-Americans

From staff reports

The Clayton College & State University women's soccer duo of Nkiru Okosieme and Olaitan Yusuf were selected Friday to NCAA Division II All-America team.

Okosieme and Yusuf received the honor from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and become the first All-Americas in the 10-year history of the women's soccer program. Yusuf was named a second-team All-America as freshman, while Okosieme was named a third-team All-America as a senior.

Earlier this month, Okosieme and Yusuf were named to the NSCAA All-Southeast Region squad. In addition, Okosieme was named the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year, the first time a Clayton State women's soccer player has received the award, while Yusuf was named the Freshman of the Year, also a first for the program.

Yusuf, from Ilborin, Nigeria, led the nation in scoring with 35 goals on the season, breaking the PBC single season record.

She also led the country in points per game at 3.70 per contest.

She had multiple goals in 11 matches this season, including a school record five goals against the University of South Carolina Aiken. She was named PBC Player of the Week twice this season. Okosieme, from Onitsha, Nigeria, is the all-time leading scorer in the Peach Belt Conference with 64 goals in three seasons of play. She is a three-time NCAA All-Southeast Region performer, a three-time All-PBC player and a three-time All-PBC Tournament player. Nkiru finished the season ranked among the nation's leaders in points per game and in goals scored with 17 goals and 10 assists on the season.

The nation's second leading scorer in 2001, she set a PBC single season record with 33 goals, which was later broken this year by teammate Yusuf. Okosieme received the 2002 Lady Laker Award given to top female athlete in Clayton State program based on athletic and academic achievement. A two-time Peach Belt Presidential Honor Roll recipient, she had 22 multi-goal games out of 55 games in her career. She played in the 2003 World Cup for her native land of Nigeria, her fourth World Cup competition.

The Clayton State duo led the Lakers to a school best 13-6-1 record, the program's first appearance in the NCAA Division II National Soccer Championships and to a runner-up finish in the 2004 Peach Belt Conference Tournament.

In Peach Belt Conference news:

North Georgia to join PBC AUGUSTA - North Georgia College and State University will join the Peach Belt Conference in the fall of 2005, conference president Thomas Harden announced Monday.

North Georgia, based in Dahlonega, may not be eligible for any NCAA championships until 2009. It could apply for a waiver to have its probation period shortened to two years.

"Our college has grown to the point where we need to compete in a larger arena, a larger venue," said North Georgia president Nathaniel Hansford.

The Peach Belt is losing Kennesaw State University and the University of North Florida, as both schools plan to move to Division I.

Harden said North Georgia is "very compatible in their size and their mission with the Peach Belt and are a well-established program, both athletically and academically."

Other Peach Belt members are Armstrong Atlantic State, Augusta State, Clayton College and State University, Columbus State, Francis Marion, Georgia College, Lander, North Carolina-Pembroke, South Carolina-Aiken and South Carolina Upstate.

North Georgia currently field men's and women's teams in cross country, soccer, basketball and tennis, and also offers baseball for men and softball for women.