By Caleb Bailey, Staff Writer
The Armstrong Pirates soccer team hosted Clayton State in the quarterfinals of the Peach Belt Conference tournament on Nov. 4. The game was a rematch from the last game that Pirates lost before beginning their six game winning streak and it was the Lakers who edged the Pirates once again.
The Lakers got their scoring going early as the team’s leading scorer Maria Marti Baris banged a wide open shot from just outside the box that beat Morgan Luckie in the 7th minute. Despite the early deficit, the Pirates fought back by taking the next four shots.
Sarah Olin seemed to have scored her 7th goal of the season in the 24th minute when she booted a shot in off of a deflection, but the referee called offside and negated the tying goal. The Lakers responded just two minutes later and pushed their lead to 2-0 when Bartis connected with Saidhbh Collins who blasted a shot into the upper corner of the net.
The Pirates went into the half trailing, but came back out fighting. Jenny Allen found Taylor Valley in the box who then beat Clayton State keeper Charlotte McCormack one-on-one for the team’s first goal in the 63rd minute. It looked as though Olin would tie the game just a minute later, but McCormack made a diving save to preserve her team the win.
With the loss, the Pirates were eliminated from the PBC Tournament and had to wait until Monday to see if they would receive an “At-Large” berth into the NCAA Tournament. The team also fell to 13-4 with the loss.
“I think we didn’t play as well as we needed in the first half obviously giving up the two goals,” head coach Eric Faulconer said. “We turned the ball over at critical areas of field. We battled hard in second half. Taylor’s goal gave us a chance and the girls played hard. In the end it wasn’t enough and I’m proud of the effort. Moving forward we just got to sit and wait. It may not be good enough, but we are hoping to see how some of the end results play out.”