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FLORENCE, SC – North Georgia secured a home game in the first round of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Saturday afternoon, knocking off Francis Marion 3-1 on the road.
The Saints (9-6-1, 5-3 PBC) won their third straight game and are playing their best soccer at just the right time. North Georgia entered the game in fourth place and held that strong by taking down the Patriots on their home field. The Saints will be no worse than the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament and they will now wait to see who they will host in the PBC Tournament next Tuesday.
Manuel Hernandez continued his impressive freshman campaign scoring two goals, one in each half. The first came in the 10th minute when Hernandez received a free kick from Saints keeper Rade Tanaskovic. Hernandez settled beautifully, and then flicked in the shot from about 13 yards out to give his team the early 1-0 lead. His second goal and seventh of the season came in the 65th minute when two fine-looking passes from Max Angel and Gray Phelps found the foot of the Venezuelan and he buried another, putting away Francis Marion for good.
Gray Phelps also played another quality game, adding a goal of his own to go with the assist. Phelps got his fourth goal of the year when Korey Daigle sent a perfect through ball and Phelps finished, giving the Saints a 2-0 lead heading into the half.
Rade Tanaskovic picked up his sixth win of the season recording just two saves and allowing one goal. The senior has returned with a presence after coming back from an elbow injury he suffered earlier in the season.
North Georgia outshot Francis Marion 14-7 and earned one more corner kick with five to the Patriots four.
Francis Marion's (4-12-1, 2-5-1 PBC) lone goal came in the 84th minute, when Travis Bally scored, nearly putting a dent in the three-goal deficit. The Patriots are headed the PBC Tournament, but their opponent is still to be determined.
Coach Pat Parris and his Saints have seemed to found a rhythm and look like a team that will contend to the very end of the 2011 season. They are gaining momentum at the perfect time and a home game in the PBC Tournament is just what the Saints need, having only lost just one game in Dahlonega this year.
The Saints return to the pitch on Tuesday, November 1, when they will host a Peach Belt Conference Tournament game. Their opponent is yet to be determined with PBC action still taking place Saturday evening.
Stay updated at SaintsSports.com for times and opponents of all next week's PBC Tournament action.