The Darton Cavaliers men and women's soccer programs do what they have done consistently over the past 10-15 years and that is put themselves in a position to win region championships. This past weekend was no different. Both programs captured the regular season titles giving them both the #1 seed going in to the GCAA tournament.
After playing two overtimes in their semifinal game, the Lady Hawks of South Georgia State jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal by conference player of the year Shanelle Frederick. Darton then took the lead in the next 5 minutes on goals by Viera and Haley Knowles. Dani Weyer increased the first half lead to 3-1. The second half continued much like the first with Darton goals by Laura Valcourt and Maggie VanHusan to increase the lead to 5-1. Bailey Pickering cut the score to 5-2 at the 73rd minute but Veera Viitikko finished the scoring for Darton and the 6-2 win. With the GCAA championship, the Lady Cavaliers advance directly to the NJCAA soccer championship in Melbourne FL.
In the nightcap, it appeared it was going to be a runaway match for the Cavaliers as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Bulldogs of Georgia Military on goals by Tyriko Williams,Sean Hoffstater, Mariwan Azimi and Jahtino Richardson. GMC was able to reduce the lead to 4-1 just before halftime on a goal by Tinashe Chabata.
After a near scoreless second half, then with 4 minutes left, here is where things became interesting. Momentum changed in favor of GMC as Panayoti Gotsi scored at the 86 minute mark to cut the lead to 4-2. Three minutes later Taku Mashingaidze scored for the Bulldogs bringing the score to within one at 4-3. But the Cavaliers held on for the final minute to secure the championship for outgoing Coach Bart Sasnett by a 4-3 margin.