MORROW, Ga. – As members of the Peach Belt Conference begin jockeying for position in the PBC Tournament, the Georgia Southwestern State men's soccer team was looking to bolster its hopes of making the tournament. Wednesday's road match against Clayton State University would deny the Hurricanes of gaining any advantage.
The night's scoring action would kickoff at a feverish pace. The Lakers would tally two goals in the game's first 17 minutes. Kenny Mena would take a Jonathan Ray pass and bury his seventh goal of the season in the 16th minute. Clayton State would push the lead to 2-0 one minute and 45 seconds later thanks to a Matty Phillips goal.
The Hurricanes would snap a five match streak of scoreless first halves when freshman midfielder Jon-Luke Cannada would take a pass from fellow freshman Hunter Sams for a goal in the 23rd minute. The goal would be Cannada's first collegiate goal and the assist was the second on the season for his counterpart.
The Cannada-Sams counter would take the Hurricanes into the half down a goal at 2-1. Shots from sophomore Curley Kitts and junior KleesBatner Loembet-Makaya would cap the GSW shots taken in the first half at three to the eight CSU shots in the half. That made it a busy night in the early going for Hurricane keeper Cade Jones who registered four of his seven saves in the game's first frame.
The second half would see GSW not only fully recover from the Clayton State barrage, but land a haymaker of their own. The Hurricanes would first take advantage of a Laker handball in the box in the 59th minute. Senior Shane McKay would bury the penalty kick to give the Blue & Gold the all-important equalizer. The Sheffield, England native's third goal of the season wouldn't be his last.
The Hurricane attack would bear fruit just four minutes later when McKay would give GSW the go-ahead goal. McKay's goal came off a rebound from CSU keeper Brian Garcia's save of another Shane McKay shot.
Yet the scoring pace of the night would continue to stay true to form. Clayton State would tie the game up again in the 66th minute thanks to Alejandro Duque's first goal of the season. The Lakers would carry the momentum into a penalty kick of their own just three minutes after Duque's goal. Kenny Mena would take the CSU penalty kick and was denied by GSW keeper Cade Jones. However, Mena slid the rebound in to give Clayton State the lead with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Mena's second goal would prove to be the game-winning goal and give the Lakers the 4-3 victory. The Hurricanes' three goal output would be the most by a GSW team against a PBC opponent in exactly one year. On October 12, 2010, the Blue & Gold beat North Georgia 3-0.
The hard-fought loss would put the Georgia Southwestern record at 3-8-1 (0-4-0 PBC). The guys will return to the pitch this weekend for a special home doubleheader versus Lander. Saturday will be the "Think Pink!" games for both squads. Commemorative pink t-shirts are available in the GSW bookstore for $10 with the entire purchase price benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The t-shirts will be available for purchase at the field on Saturday. Concessions revenue from the women's match will be donated to Komen while proceeds from the men's match will go to the Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition. Admission is free, but donations will be collected. The women's match starts at 1 p.m. with the men to follow at 3:30 p.m.