By Doug Gorman
Savannah College of Art and Design head soccer coach John Rootes must love coaching against Clayton State.
The former Lakers' coach has won three-straight games aginst his former team, including Wednesday night's 2-0 victory against Clayton State under the lights at Laker Field.
Clayton State, which came into the game ranked fifth in the country in the latest NCAA Division II poll, dropped to 3-1-1.
The Bees, who are ranked 23rd in the NAIA national poll, moved to 3-2 on the season.
Clayton State lost for the first time this year despite outshooting the Bees 20-9 in a contest that turned into a physical, defensive battle throughout both halves of play. Laker head coach Pete Petersen will try and get the attention his team by holding a 5 a.m. practice Thursday morning.
"I'm really disappointed in the way we played, but an early season loss to an NAIA team really doesn't hurt us in the national tournament picture, and that's our goal, to make the national tournament."
The Bees scored a goal in each half and then held off a couple of solid scoring chances by Clayton State to preseve the victory.
Savannah College of Art and Design got on the board at the 26:57 mark of the game when Josiah Millar took a pass from Dan Fadida and zipped down the middle of the field on a breakway and blasted the ball past Clayton State goal keeper Billy Hale to give the Bees a 1-0 lead.
Darren Spong added the final goal of the night at the 60.54 mark of the contest on an assist from Richard Hurlin to give the Bees the 2-0 lead.
Tony Madegwa tried to keep the Lakers in the game with six shots, including three on goal, but Savannah goal keeper Tommi Sarkinen rose to the ocassion each time.
Millar led the Savannah squad with four shots.
"They are very talented," said Rootes. "What we were trying to do is be very physical and try and negate some of their skill."
Rootes enjoys the chance to come back and coach against his former team.
"I like it because I get to come back and see friends and family," Rootes said. "I love Clayton State and there are so many people here that I love."
The Lakers get back in action Saturday under the lights at home against Tuscullum. Petersen hopes Thursday's early practice gets the team focused again.
"You are going to lose some games, but it was the way we played. We were too soft, and we have to respond better," Petersen said.
Clayton State women win: The Clayton State women's soccer team moved to 3-0-1 on the season with a 1-0 victory on the road against Montevallo. Olaitan Yusuf scored the game's only goal.h.