Saints Slip by USC Aiken in Rain-Shortened PBC Opener
– A single goal in the 55th minute is all it took for the
North Georgia men's soccer team to avoid the storms and sneak by
USC Aiken 1-0 on Saturday evening as both teams opened Peach Belt
Conference action in a rain shortened match at the Soccer
The Saints stay unbeaten on the season at 3-0-1 overall and now 1-0 in Peach Belt Conference action. The Pacers, still in search of their first victory, fall to 0-3-1 overall and 0-1 in league action.
A game that started out under the lights ended in the midst of thunderstorms as two separate delays stole the headlines in what turned out to be a classic PBC showdown. After the North Georgia offense fired numerous near misses in the opening minutes, a lightning delay suspended play in the 26th minute, sending teams off the field for what turned out to be a 73-minute delay.
Following the thunderstorm, both squads returned to action and played to a scoreless tie at the half, but it was the Saints who jumped on top in the second period as Gray Phelps scored his first goal in a North Georgia uniform in the 56th minute.
With both teams finding little footing on the field, the Saints sent a cross into the box, finding the foot Max Angel who deflected the pass to Phelps for what turned out to be the game-winner. Phelps and Angel collected their first goal and assist of the season respectively as the duo sent the North Georgia bench into celebration.
The Saints held off a scrappy Pacer bunch down the stretch before the rains came once again, forcing the officials to suspend play, and this time sending the game final at the 77:25 mark with North Georgia snagging the 1-0 victory.
North Georgia dominated with 20 shots in the contest to just seven for USC Aiken. The Saints also led with a 4-1 margin in corner kicks, while the officials whistled 12 fouls to each side.
Rade Tanaskovic continued his stellar start to the season in goal, not allowing a goal and picking up two saves in all 77:25 minutes of action to lower his goals against average to 0.68. USCA's Andray Charles allowed the game's only score in the loss, while tallying seven saves.
North Georgia will have little time to regroup as the squad is set to play host to Barry University Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. The Bucs make their way to town following a 1-1 tie against Carson-Newman on Friday evening.