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Contact: David Beall, firstname.lastname@example.org
DAHLONEGA, GA – The 11th-ranked North Georgia women's soccer team is set to take on Flagler College on Saturday evening in what should be one of the best games of the year to date for the undefeated Lady Saints.
North Georgia has reeled off nine straight wins to open the year and have outscored their opponents by 18 goals along the way to the program's best start in school history.
Saturday's primetime matchup should have a huge impact on the race for the Peach Belt Regular Season Championship and seeding for the upcoming PBC Tournament.
Flagler College Saints Body of Work
Current Record: 6-5 (2-2 PBC)
Conference Rank: 6th
Conference Prediction in 2011: 8th
Goal Differential in 2011: +4
Last Meeting (2010): North Georgia 4, Flagler College 0
Better Than They Look – Currently on a three-game skid over the last seven days, Flagler has suddenly dipped to just a game over the .500 mark at 6-5 on the year. They haven't exactly played any slouches though, falling to a pair of dominating Sunshine State Conference schools, including 10th-ranked Rollins College. Having played one of the best schedules in the league, the newest member to the PBC is quickly becoming one of the tougher games during the 2011 campaign.
Identical Results – North Georgia and Flagler have two common opponents so far in 2011 and have come away with identical results. Both squads defeated Montevallo 2-1 and silenced a ranked UNC Pembroke team in extra time. In non-conference action, North Georgia will also take on Anderson later this month, a team Flagler defeated 3-2 at home in their first game of the season.
Consistency Counts – Emily Dover has been the most consistent player in the Peach Belt Conference all season long and she was rewarded on Tuesday afternoon when she was named the PBC Offensive Player of the Week. The weekly award is the third for North Georgia this season after Kirsten Ross and Megan Morrow snagged Goalkeeper and Defender of the Week honors respectively two weeks ago. Dover scored two goals and added an assist in a pair of wins last week.
Unwelcoming – Since Flagler entered the league two years ago, North Georgia has never let the newest PBC member find success, holding a 2-0-0 all-time mark against the team from the Sunshine State. In fact, Chris Adams' club has never allowed a goal against these guys, outscoring Flagler 6-0, including a 3-0 victory in Florida last year. Kirsten Ross has been on the better side of both results, recording back-to-back shutouts against Flagler and tallying six saves along the way.
Battle of the Best – While Flagler's Loren Cate has been the measuring stick for goals all season long in the PBC with an early hat trick, North Georgia's Emily Dover has been red hot over the last month and has pulled even with the Flagler forward for the most goals in the league with eight. The two players have been heading in opposite directions in recent days, as Cate has scored just one goal in the last four games, while Dover has tallied four goals in the last three contests. Dover has also proved to be the most clutch player in the Peach Belt so far this season with a league-leading four game-winning goals on the year. She also leads the PBC with 19 total points, while Cate is second with 18.
Keys to the Game – While the top two scorers in the league dominate the headlines for Saturday's PBC tilt, the two players who might make the biggest impact are Flagler's Lindsay Zullo and North Georgia's Kelly Penston. Both standouts are second on their respective teams in goals and could find an opening with the bulk of the attention focused on Cate and Dover. Zullo and Penston have combined for 11 goals on the year, and lets not forget, they are both in the top 10 in the league in scoring.
Heating Up – While North Georgia is off to their best in school history and ranked No. 11 in the country, the Lady Saints are about to face their toughest stretch of the year with five straight conference games. After Saturday's battle with Flagler, North Georgia will take their show on the road with back-to-back road games at Columbus State and Georgia College. While the end of the season is in site, Chris Adams' squad will have to take the saying "one game at a time" literally if they want to capture their first PBC Championship and set themselves up for a run in the NCAA Tournament.