Clayton St. soccer teams to open play in Nationals

From Staff Reports

Both Clayton State's men's and women's soccer teams will take their first step in a run for a NCAA Division II National Championship this weekend, kicking off play in their respective national soccer tournaments.

Clayton State's women's squad will be on the road in the Southeast Regional Friday, traveling to the event hosted by Tusculum College. The Laker women will face Carson-Newman at 7:30 p.m. in Greeneville, TN. If the Lakers win, they will advance to the S.E. Regional final on Sunday at 1 p.m. against the winner of Friday's match between Catawba and host Tusculum.

On the men's side, Clayton State by virtue of holding the No. 1 seed in the Southeast Region, will host and receive a bye in the first round of the S.E. Regional. Clayton State will play on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Laker Field against the winner of Friday's first round match between UNC Pembroke and Lander.

The Clayton State women, ranked 16th in the nation, faced 23rd-ranked Carson-Newman earlier this year, defeating the Eagles 3-1 behind a trio of goals from Peach Belt Player of the Year Olaitan Yusuf. The Laker women also played C-N in last year's NCAA Tournament, falling to the Eagles 3-2 in the first round. Carson-Newman will enter the match with a 14-4 record on the season.

Clayton State's women's team is coming off a 2-1 overtime victory on Saturday over Columbus State, capturing the 2005 Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship. The Lakers' 15-2-2 mark on the season is a school best and the team's tournament championship comes on the heels of the program, sharing the 2005 PBC regular season championship with Columbus.

The eighth-ranked Clayton State men's team is coming off a 2-1 victory Sunday over USC Upstate to win the 2005 Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship. The Lakers also won the 2005 Peach Belt Conference regular season title and currently have a 13-3-4 record on the season.

Clayton State battled Lander to a 1-1 double overtime tie earlier this year, while it defeated 19th-ranked UNC Pembroke 3-1. Lander will enter Friday's first round match with an 11-3-4 record, while UNC Pembroke sits at 12-3-4 on the year. Lander and UNC Pembroke tied for second along with Upstate in the 2005 PBC standings.

The tournament appearance for the Clayton State men's team will be its fourth in the last six years. Clayton State advanced to the NCAA "Sweet Sixteen" last year advancing over Queens before falling in the regional final to UNC Pembroke.