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No. 5 Clayton State men rebound, win 2-1 thriller over Palm Beach Atlantic

Published: September 10, 2011

BOCA RATON, Fla. – September 10, 2011 – The Clayton State Laker men’s soccer team rebounded successfully from Friday’s tough defeat against Lynn by recording a hard-fought 2-1 triumph over Palm Beach Atlantic on Saturday in the Wyndham Garden Inn/Lynn Soccer Classic.

The victory improves Clayton State, ranked fifth in the nation in Division II, to 4-1 overall heading into next Saturday’s Peach Belt Conference showdown at rival Lander. Palm Beach Atlantic, the defending NCCAA National Champion, drops to 2-2 overall.

Clayton State took the early lead in the first half on senior forward Ryan Pugh’s fourth goal in as many games in the 23rd minute. He took a through ball from Kenny Mena on the right side of the penalty box and beat Sailfish goalkeeper Jonathan Strunk one-on-one for the game’s first goal.

The score stayed 1-0 until a unique scoring sequence in the second half. Palm Beach Atlantic tied the game in the 65th minute when Kenny Hogg scored for the Sailfish off a ricochet off the crossbar on a shot attempt by Kevin Ireland. But the deadlock was short-lived as the Lakers struck a minute later on Mena’s fifth goal of the season off an assist by Arturo Cruz.

The Lakers held Palm Beach Atlantic without a shot in the game’s final 25 minutes. Overall, Clayton State had 21 shots to only eight for the Sailfish. Laker goalkeeper Brian Garcia recorded two saves in the victory, while Strunk recorded eight saves for Palm Beach Atlantic.

Clayton State and Lander will square off next Saturday (Sept. 17) at 3:30 p.m. at the Jeff May Athletic Complex.

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