EVANS, GA – Young Harris won a penalty-kick shootout 5-4 over Lander to take the Peach Belt Conference men's soccer tournament championship on Sunday at Blanchard Woods Park. The championship is the fourth for the Mountain Lions in the last five years and gives them the automatic bid to next week's NCAA Tournament.
The game ended in a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes of regulation and two overtime periods. Both teams will get a tie on their official records. It is the third year in a row that the PBC Championship game has been decided by penalty kicks.
Both teams were tentative in the first half. Lander held a 6-5 edge in shots in the opening 45, but neither team had a good scoring opportunity. The second half played the same until a red card put Young Harris a man down just before the end of regulation. Lander held a 7-3 edge in shots in the second half and played most of the overtime periods in the YHC half.
The two teams each converted their first four penalty kick opportunities, but Lander missed on their fifth kick, sending it high over the bar. Young Harris' Macauley King then hit the championship-winning shot on the subsequent kick, starting a midfield celebration.
Lander, who set a school record for consecutive scoreless minutes played, got five saves from Jacob Withers in 110 minutes of scoreless play. YHC's Christian Kjellsby made three saves in the shutout.
The two teams, both ranked in the top 10 nationally, should serve as hosts for next week's NCAA regional. The tournament bracket will be announced on Monday evening on NCAA.com.
2018 Peach Belt Men's Soccer
Keiron Matthews, Flagler
Alex Grant, North Georgia
Oliver Drakenhammar, Francis Marion
Julian Kersting, Francis Marion
Mitro Turunen, Clayton State
Jordan Knight, Clayton State
Oliver Brock, Lander
Luke Narker, Lander
Jordan Skelton, Lander
Dani Fischer, Young Harris
Kevin Coiffic, Young Harris
Christian Kjellsby, Young Harris
Tournament Most Valuable Player
Alex Jacq, Young Harris