No. 18 Pirates Earn Outright PBC Title With 1-1 Draw At No. 11 North Georgia
DAHLONEGA, Ga. - It's not often that a draw feels like both a win and a loss at the same time, but for the No. 18-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University women's soccer team, both were true as the Pirates clinched its first outright Peach Belt Conference regular season title with a 1-1 draw at No. 11 North Georgia on Saturday afternoon in Dahlonega, Ga.
The Pirates finish the 2011 regular season with a 12-2-3 overall mark but a 9-0-1 record in Peach Belt play, clinching the crown and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming PBC tournament, which begins Tuesday. North Georgia (14-1-1, 8-1-1 PBC) will be the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
Armstrong scored first in the match as junior Kristina Pascutti slotted a cross from freshman Brianne Matarazzo into the lower left side of the goal in the 34th minute for her 11th tally of the season.
The Pirates had a golden opportunity to take a 2-0 lead in the 37th minute, but Pascutti was ruled offsides after putting the ball into the back of the net.
At halftime, North Georgia held a slim edge in shots, 7-6, with both starting goalkeepers - Meghan Mayville for the Pirates and Kirsten Ross for the Saints - making three saves.
In the second half, the Saints took advantage of the 15-to-20 MPH wind at their backs to outshoot the Pirates, 12-1, in the second half. The breakthrough finally came in the 80th minute as the conference's leading scorer, Emily Dover, pounced on a loose ball in the box and scored to tie the match at 1-1.
The Pirates had the only chances in extra time as Ross had to save a shot by sophomore Andye Dawson in the 91st minute, then she stopped a try by Matarazzo in the 104th minute to preserve the draw.
"First of all, a lot of credit to North Georgia," Armstrong head women's soccer coach Eric Faulconer said. "Coach Adams has a very good team and they really took it to us in the second half.
"With that said, I am extremely proud of our players. They have lived up to the pressures of being the preseason favorite all season long, and to go through this season with out a loss [in PBC play] is a wonderful accomplishment. To win back-to-back conference titles says a lot about our program and this great group of young ladies."
Armstrong will host its first-round Peach Belt Conference tournament match on Tuesday, November 1, at 2:00 p.m. against the eighth seed, Georgia College.