GREENWOOD – The No. 21-ranked Lander men's soccer team used a goal in the 79th minute from Max Bolton to extend its winning streak to five matches with a 1-0 victory over Clayton State in Peach Belt Conference action on Wednesday night at Van Taylor Stadium.
The win assures Lander (11-3-2, 5-1 PBC) of a top-two seed in the Peach Belt Conference tournament and an automatic bye into the semifinals. Clayton State (12-5, 4-2 PBC) dipped to third in the conference after losing its eighth consecutive match to the Bearcats.
"I thought in the first half, we weren't at our best," said head coach Lee Squires. "In the second half, we really pushed on. We hit the bar, goalkeeper made a couple of saves, and then ultimately found the goal. We defended better, we kept the clean sheet, and we move on to Saturday.
After a scoreless first half, the Bearcats took the one-goal lead with 11:18 remaining in regulation. Harry Bircumshaw sent a pass to Bolton along the far side of the box. The freshman worked into an attacking position and beat the Laker goalie with a shot into the bottom-right corner.
The Bearcats' defense proteced the lead from that point as Jacob Withers recorded five saves on the night to keep the clean sheet for Lander.
Lander can win the conference title outright on Saturday at Flagler with a win and a draw or a loss for Young Harris against Francis Marion. The Bearcats can also claim the crown with a draw and a Mountain Lion loss. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
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