Clayton State ends soccer season at Elite 8

From Staff Reports

In a game that will go down as a "classic" in the 2010 NCAA Division II Men's Soccer National Tournament, the Clayton State Lakers dropped a tough 3-2 decision in double-overtime at Rollins in the NCAA Division II "Elite Eight."

The defeat ends the 19th-ranked Lakers' banner season at 19-4 - the best season the history of men's soccer at Clayton State. Rollins improves to 14-3-3 overall and the Tars advance to the NCAA Division II "Final Four" on Dec. 2 in Louisville.

"What a tremendous game," said Clayton State head coach Pete Petersen. "Rollins is a real good team, but we showed a lot of character and never quit. We wish Rollins a lot of luck.

The four seniors (Brett Neilson, Jonathan McKeever, Igor Lukic and Deni Lulic), I am so proud of them. They did something very special.

"We had a great season and the support was tremendous."

Rollins got the game-winner in the 105th minute of the second overtime period as Chase Neinken scored off a direct kick by Kevin Boone. That gave Neinken a hat-trick for the game Rollins. The game-winner spoiled a tremendous charge by Clayton State, which rallied twice to tie the game.

After Neinken gave the Tars a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute, Clayton State answered in the 57th minute on an unassisted goal by Lulic, his sixth goal of the season. However, Neinken answered five minutes later with his second goal, giving the Tars a 2-1 lead.

But there was no quit in the Lakers. Junior Ryan Pugh got Clayton State its second equalizer of the game in the 78th minute off an assist by junior midfielder Matty Phillips. It was the 16th goal of the season for Pugh, the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year.

Clayton State goalkeeper Brian Garcia recorded five saves in the defeat, while his Rollins counterpart Keneil Baker recorded three saves. Rollins out-shot the Lakers 18-9.