Clayton State advances in Peach Belt Conference soccer tournament

Lakers advance in PBC soccer

Clayton State is looking for a big offensive production from center Shacamra Jackson this season. (Special Photo)

Clayton State is looking for a big offensive production from center Shacamra Jackson this season. (Special Photo)

MORROW — After a win over Montevallo earlier this week, Clayton State has advanced to the Peach Belt Conference women’s soccer semifinals game.

The top-seed Lakers will meet Lander, the No. 4 seed in the tournament, at 11 a.m. today at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans. The other semifinal match pits No. 6 seed Georgia College and second seed Columbus State at 2 p.m. The semifinal winners will play on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Lander Bearcats defeated North Georgia 5-3 in the quarterfinals Tuesday. Clayton State defeated Lander 2-1 earlier this year in conference action.

Clayton prevailed 3-1 over Montevallo in a penalty kick shootout at Laker Field on Tuesday.

In the best of five shootout format, the Lakers got goals from Lois Edvardsson, Melissa Hetherington, and Brooke Bortles, while Montevallo had one shot hit the crossbar, another one sail wide, followed by Clayton State keeper Charlotte McCormack coming up with a save for the Lakers to advance.

“We are just happy to get through to the semifinals,” said third-year head coach Gareth O’Sullivan.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: The Lakers will open the regular season on the road with two games in the Spartan Challenge hosted by the University of Tampa. Clayton State will face Florida Southern tonight, followed by playing host Tampa on Saturday.

In its final tune-up game for the season, No. 3 Clayton State defeated Div. III Emory 83-73 at the Athletics Center.

Senior center Shacamra Jackson scored 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the exhibition win last week.

Clayton State will open its home slate of games, hosting Union University on Tuesday, November 19th. Tip-off for the game at the Athletics Center is 5:30 p.m.

MORE BASKETBALL: For the third straight season, the women’s basketball team has been picked to finish atop the standings of the Peach Belt Conference in the preseason poll of league coaches.

This season, the Lakers received 12 first place votes out of a possible 13 in the poll to garner 168 total points, 15 points ahead North Georgia. Last year, the Lakers were picked to finish tied for first in the Peach Belt with rival USC Aiken. Flagler was picked third this year, followed by Aiken and Columbus State rounding out the top five.

“We are flattered to once again be shown so much respect by the rest of the coaches in the Peach Belt,” said head coach Dennis Cox, entering his 10th season at Clayton State. “We are in the best Division II conference in the country, and to be predicted to be the best in it means a lot to us. We know that we have lost a lot of talent from last year, so it will be a major challenge for us to be among the leaders by the end. The league is very, very strong again this year.”

The Lakers have won the last three regular season championships, compiling a 52-1 record in league games.

This year’s team does return several players who were in last year’s rotation, including a trio of starters. The top returnees include: 2013 Peach Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year Shacamra Jackson, 2013 PBC Freshman of the Year Kayla Pryce, along with senior guard Bena Hanyard, junior forward Jessica Covington and junior forward Yishica Sims, who practiced with last year’s team.