Lander men’s, women’s soccer prepares for PBC semifinal matches | Colleges

Lander men’s, women’s soccer prepares for PBC semifinal matches | Colleges

The Lander men’s and women’s soccer teams advanced to their respective semifinal games in the Peach Belt Conference tournament with wins on Saturday, as the men’s team won 4-0 against North Georgia and the women’s team defeated Aiken 1-0.

WomenThe Bearcats were a mixed bag at the start of the season. They showed promise, winning two of the first three matches, but showed their youth at times during the season, as the team has 11 freshman on roster. Six of the 11 freshmen are usually in the starting lineup.

“It all starts with the senior leadership. We have a great group of seniors and they’ve done a good job of molding and shaping this group,” coach Chris Ayer said. “We have 11 freshmen, so it is a challenge when you have a lot of new faces that come in. They’ve done a phenomenal job of building and bringing everyone together.

“We were a young team. We start six freshmen most of the time. We’ve learned how to put some things together and gotten better everyday, and that’s the best part about it.”

After Sept. 25, the young Bearcats team sat 3-3-1 and were riding a two game losing streak. It had allowed six goals in the two-game slide and needed a spark.

The spark came against Flager, who was ranked No. 2 and was undefeated coming into the game. The Bearcats shutdown the Saints, winning 2-1. After the upset, the team won five of its next six games, including four shutouts.

“I think it’s more about experience for us. It’s a great group with some really good senior leadership, but we were just trying to figure out how to mesh and mold,” Ayer said. “I think they’ve done really well with that.”

Lander defeated Aiken in the first round of the PBC tournament, winning 1-0. While they had just one more goal than the Pacers, the Bearcats dominated the game, as they held Aiken with out a shot in the game.

Lander now will face Flager in the semifinal game.

“I think that was a boost of confidence for our group, knowing that we could play with anyone in the country,” Ayer said “That’s what was needed at that point in the season. I’m looking forward to another match with (Flager). It’s going to be a big-time test. They’re very good.”

MenThe Bearcats enter the semifinal round of the PCB tournament with a dominate 4-0 win at home against North Georgia.

In the win, Lander was the aggressor, as it dominated the shot count, finishing with 18 of the 25 shots in the game. Only three of North Georgia’s seven shots were on goal in the game.

As he did last year, Tom Marriott has led the Bearcats this season, leading the team with 16 goals, 10 assists and 42 points. He is ranked in the top-10 in Division II in all three statistics.

His season earned him the PCB Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

Both teams will play today in Evans, Georgia.

Contact sports writer Cody Estremera at 864-943-2530.

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