From Staff Reports
The new NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches' Association of America) Men's Soccer Division II Top 25 was released on Tuesday, and the Clayton State Lakers made one of the biggest jumps in the poll out of all the ranked teams.
The Lakers are ranked 10th in the nation this week, a jump of 14 spots from last week when Clayton State was ranked 24th. This marks the fifth straight week that the Lakers have been ranked in the Division II Top 25, and the first time the Lakers have cracked the Top 10 since being ranked fifth in the nation early in the 2007 season.
Clayton State (10-2, 4-1 PBC) is the highest-ranked team from the Peach Belt Conference in this week's Top 25. Montevallo dropped from second to 20th this week, while Flagler dropped out after being ranked 19th last week. The Lakers made the big catapult this week thanks to a convincing 3-0 shutout victory at Montevallo last Wednesday.
Colorado Mines remains the top-ranked team in the nation for a fourth straight week.
Clayton State returns to action this Saturday, playing host to USC Aiken at 5 p.m. at Laker Field.
LAKERS SWEEP WEEKLY PEACH BELT CONFERENCE HONORS: The Peach Belt Conference released its weekly men's soccer awards on Tuesday, and it was a clean sweep for the Clayton State Lakers.
The Lakers' Ryan Pugh was selected PBC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in the last three weeks, while Brett Neilson garnered PBC Defensive Player of the Week honors for a second straight week and Brian Garcia claimed PBC Goalkeeper of the week honors for the second time this season. It's the first time this season that one team has swept the weekly conference honors in men's soccer.
A junior forward from Fayetteville, Ga., Pugh continued his recent offensive onslaught last week with two goals and one assist in last Wednesday's 3-0 Clayton State shutout victory at Montevallo. Pugh now leads the Peach Belt in both goals scored (nine) and points (21).
A senior defender from Durban, South Africa, Neilson is fast becoming the Lakers' top defender in recent games. He scored his second goal of the season last Wednesday in the victory over Montevallo and helped Clayton State limit the second-highest scoring team in the PBC to only five shots.
Spearheaded Neilson, the Lakers lead the PBC in both goals-against average and shutouts.
A junior from Jonesboro, Ga., Garcia recorded his sixth shutout of the season last week against Montevallo. He recorded two saves against Montevallo and another four saves in Saturday's tough 1-0 defeat 22nd-ranked Tampa. Garcia currently leads the Peach Belt in both goals-against average and shutouts.
CLAYTON STATE NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS: Clayton State is amongst the leaders both team-wise and individual wise in the latest NCAA Division II men's soccer statistics, which were released on Tuesday.
As a team, the Lakers are ranked fourth in the nation in goals scored with 34. Clayton State is one goal behind Metro State and Washington Adventist and two behind national leader Limestone.
In addition, the Lakers are ranked 12th in scoring offense and 15th in goals-against average.
Individually, Garcia is ranked seventh in the nation in goals-against average, and Pugh is ranked 12th in goals scored and 15th in points scored.