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Wednesday June 1st, 2016 3:26AM

Saints hand No. 22 Lander first loss of season in women's soccer

By staff
GREENWOOD, S.C. -- The North Georgia College & State University women's soccer team proved Wednesday evening that they will continue to play hard all the way through to the end of the season as the Saints took down 22nd-ranked Lander University 3-0 at the Jeff May Complex in Peach Belt Conference action.

The Saints, who are sixth in the most recent Southeast Region poll, improve to 12-3-2 with a 5-3-2 record in league action. Lander entered the contest fourth in the region standings and is now 10-2-3 overall with an 8-1-1 conference record.

It was the third time this season that the Saints were able to obtain a positive result over a ranked opponent. North Georgia holds a 2-1-1 record against ranked opponents in the 2012 season.

The Saints entered Wednesday's match fifth in the conference race and the win keeps them within range of overtaking Clayton State University and/or Columbus State University for a chance to host a game in the opening round of the 2012 PBC Soccer Tournament.

After the game progressed for 41 minutes without either side finding the back of the net, Sophia Matonak broke through for North Georgia with a shot from eight yards out to put the Saints out front. It was a lead the Saints would never relinquish.

In the second half of the game, the Saints really turned up the heat on both offense and defense as North Georgia held a 9-1 advantage in shots in just the second stanza that included a pair of goals.

In the 52nd minute, Caroline Wallace scored her eighth goal of the season off a corner kick by Taylor Lee that Emily Bowen passed over to Wallace.

Kelly Penston put the icing on the cake in the 84th minute when she scored her team-leading ninth goal of the season off an assist from Wallace.

Mallory Sayre earned her fifth shutout of the season Wednesday night, making two saves to help secure the win.

North Georgia ended the 90 minutes with a 15-6 advantage in shots while the Bearcats held the 6-5 advantage in corner kicks.

The Saints have one final game on Saturday against the University of South Carolina Aiken at 5 p.m. The game will serve as North Georgia's "Senior Night" where the Saints will recognize their six seniors; Bowen, Taylor Lee, Kelsey Martin, Leanne South, Melanie Thompson and Abby Trevino.
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