Mary Rob Plunkett is looking to extend her stay at home past tonight.
The Georgia College & State junior goalkeeper and her teammates lost in the Peach Belt Conference semifinals last year. This time around, the Lady Bobcats hope to make it to Sunday.
"Our mind-set is that every game from here on out is our final game," said Plunkett, who was born and raised in Augusta. "We're not looking at anything else. We're just looking at Friday."
Fourth-seeded Georgia College & State faces No. 8 seed Montevallo in the PBC Tournament semifinals at 7:30 tonight on Field No. 2 at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans. In the other semifinal matchup, No. 2 seed Armstrong Atlantic State plays No. 3 seed Lander at 5. The winners meet at 1 p.m. Sunday in the finals.
In the men's semifinals, No. 2 seed Lander plays No. 3 seed Clayton State at 5 p.m. on Field No. 3. No. 1 seed Flagler faces No. 4 seed Montevallo at 7:30. The men's winners play at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
An all-tournament pass is $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under. Single-day tickets are $6 adults, $3 children.
Playing in the Peach Belt Tournament in her home area is a thrill, said Plunkett. The 20-year-old Plunkett, who began playing soccer at age 4, is a former all-state goalkeeper at Westminster.
"Coming back to Augusta means a lot to me," she said. "Playing in front of a hometown crowd is exciting, but you can't let it get to you."
With help from Plunkett, Georgia College & State (10-5-5) is one of the hottest teams in the conference. In their past seven games, the Lady Bobcats have won five and tied two.
Plunkett didn't see any action until the fifth game of the season. With her in the net, Georgia College & State is 8-3-5.
The Lady Bobcats' latest win came Tuesday against North Georgia in the Peach Belt Conference quarterfinals. Plunkett made two saves in the final three minutes to preserve a 2-1 victory.
"We're all about team defense, starting with the forwards and going all the way back," she said. "When we play good team defense we start playing well."
Plunkett has played well throughout the season, a year after earning second-team, all-conference honors.
This season, she's a strong candidate to receive first-team honors after leading the league in save percentage (.909) and winning the Goalkeeper of the Week award four times.
Plunkett will have to be on her game again to help Georgia College & State advance to the finals. On Saturday, Plunkett recorded 10 saves in a 1-1 tie against Montevallo.
"We've been tested in every sense of the word this year," she said. "Focus for every minute of the game is crucial."
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.