Clayton State midfielder Cruz and defender Rodriquez named to Peach Belt preseason All-Conference squad
MORROW, GA – The Clayton State University men's soccer team is gearing up for the 2012 season, and two Lakers have received some early accolades based on their past performances in the 10-team Peach Belt Conference.
Clayton State juniors Arturo Cruz and Kevin Rodriquez were both selected to the 2012 Preseason All-Conference team by league coaches. The Lakers were one of four schools in the conference to place two players on the team.
"The Peachbelt lost a lot of good players last year in 2011, but one can see the next class or two are really stepping up and into their time and place. I am very proud for Arturo and Kevin," said head coach Pete Petersen, entering his ninth season at Clayton State. "Both hail from Atlanta having played for Gregg Blasingame and Ken Kurilec with the Concorde Fire Academy. They were heavily recruited and decided to become part of our family in 2010 and helped us into the Elite 8."
Cruz, a midfielder, played in 17 matches for the Lakers last year and continued his solid play after being named the 2010 Freshman of the Year. He finished with one goal and one assist in his sophomore campaign. Returning for his junior year, Cruz is coming off a spectacular spring season that could position him as a dominant scorer in the league this season for the Lakers.
Returning for his junior year, Rodriguez was the epitome of a shut-down defender in 2011 and helped the Lakers to a team 1.28 goals against average, fourth-best in the PBC. He also helped the team record four shutouts a year ago.
Petersen continued, "They have been a mainstay on the entire left flank for the Lakers (Arturo is a left wing and Kevin is the left back) and have put in a lot of work. I look forward to them being leaders on our club this season and the next.
The Lakers will be opening their 2012 season with The Loch Shop Classic on Aug. 31, taking on Pfeiffer University in the seventh annual version of this shootout, in a 7:30 p.m. game at Laker Field. The Lakers defeated Pfeiffer, 1-0, on a goal by Ryan Pugh in last year's season-opening event. Clayton State will take on Queens in the second day of the Loch Shop Classic in a 7:30 p.m. match on Sept. 1.
Peach Belt Conference
Men's Soccer Preseason All-Conference Team
Chinedu Arinze, USC Aiken
Arturo Cruz, Clayton State
Shane Howard, Montevallo
Ilija Ilic, Young Harris
Brett Jankouskas, Lander
Kevin Keenan, Flagler
Brendan Ledgeway, Montevallo
Sam Miles, UNC Pembroke
Kevin Rodriguez, Clayton State
Clement Simonin, Lander
Joseph Toby, Flagler