Clayton State wins soccer title

The Clayton State women’s soccer team shows the hardware from their Peach Belt Conference tournament championship over the weekend in Evans. (Special Photo)

The Clayton State women’s soccer team shows the hardware from their Peach Belt Conference tournament championship over the weekend in Evans. (Special Photo)

This season’s women soccer team became the second in school history to win the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship.

And the Lakers have forward Jahmela Williams to partly thank for it.

With less than a minute remaining in regulation in Sunday’s championship match against Georgia College, Williams scored to send the game into overtime, where the Lakers would prevail with a 4-2 win and the conference title sent the Peach Belt at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans.

Georgia College appeared to have the Championship match won in regulation, but Williams corralled a loose ball at the top of the box in the final seconds, took two quick dribbles and fired a shot in the upper left of the net past the outstretched arms of Georgia College goalie Jessica Catapano.

The goal knotted the game at 2-2 with 51 seconds remaining, sending the match into overtime. After neither team scored in the two 10-minute overtimes, the game went to a penalty kick shootout with Lakers prevailing 4-2.

Clayton State’s Lois Edvardsson, Melissa Hetherington, Emily Walling and Saidhbh Collins all had goals in the shootout. Laker keeper Charlotte McCormack had two saves to lift the Lakers to the tournament championship.

“We have a never say die attitude on this team and over this season we have come back late in games. The girls deserve this championship,” head coach Gareth O’Sullivan said. “Credit Georgia College for their tremendous run in the tournament.”

The Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship is Clayton State’s second in school history as the Lakers also won in 2005. By winning the tournament, the Lakers receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II National Soccer Championships out of the Southeast Region.

With her game-saving goal in regulation, Williams was named the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player. Williams also had a goal in the first round match against Montevallo and in Friday’s semifinals against Lander. Keeper McCormack, Walling and Alicia Robinson were also named to the All-Tournament team.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL UPDATE: After pulling out a close win in its first game, No. 3 Clayton State got a decisive victory in its second game to improve to 2-0 on the season.

The Lakers defeated host Tampa in the Spartan Challenge in the second game of the two-game tournament.

“I was really proud of the way of the way our kids guarded today,” Clayton coach Dennis Cox said. “Tampa is a really good team with a lot of size, and we knew it would take our best effort to get a win. Shay (Jackson) controlled the paint, and we got great contributions from newcomers Tweety Hawkins and Tiayra Green. It was just a good win for this new team. I thought we took a big step towards finding ourselves and creating our own identity today.”

With the win, the Lakers improve to 2-0 overall on the season. Clayton State extends its regular season winning streak to 36 games, dating back to the 2011-12 season. The program is also riding a 33-game road winning streak.

Clayton State will return to action today for its annual alumni game at 7:30 p.m. The Lakers will open their home schedule on Nov. 19, hosting Union in a 5:30 p.m. contest at the Athletics Center.