Darton’s amazing fall run just keeps getting better as both the men’s and women’s soccer teams advance to the NJCAA National Championship tournament in Phoenix. The road both teams took was a tough one, with the men winning a hard fought 3-2 match over Spartanburg Methodist College, and the women taking a nail biter 2-1 game over Brevard Community College as both teams won the District title.
The Lady Cav’s pre-game warm-ups served as a harbinger of things to come to head coach Ken Veilands. “I could tell we weren’t going to be in sync,” said Veliands. “But we scored early, and that changed everything.”
Haisha Cantave, a freshman and Canadian national-team player, buried a cross from Renee Hurd in the early minutes of the match.
Then Darton sophomore Shelby Bush, of Shalimar, Fla., scored her 32nd season goal which would become the game winner. Bush is now tied for the third-highest goal-scorer in the NJCAA.
The No. 4-ranked Lady Cavaliers would go on to have several attempts in the second half of the match, only to have them swept up by the talented Brevard goalkeeper.
However they did fend off the opposing attack to keep their half-time 2-1 lead throughout the remaining forty-five minutes of the match.
The men’s team face a battle in their match that left wounded in its wake in their match against Spartanburg Methodist College.
“Hat’s off to that team – they wanted it man, they were good,” Darton College head coach Bart Sasnett said. “We just wanted it more.”
With today’s decisive win, Sasnett’s boys, now 18-1, are among the final eight teams destined for the NJCAA National Championship tournament.
It wasn’t a win that came easy though. Although the Cavaliers dominated the first half with Hialeah Gardens, Fla., sophomore Kevin Arellana and Miama freshman Matthew Treuman bashing the opponent’s net, Spartanburg was awarded a questionable penalty kick early in the second half that changed the tone of the game.
“Nobody knows what the PK was for,” Sasnett said.
With his team’s lead now challenged by a goal (2-1), Tucker took control of the ball and fought his way into scoring position to keep his squad on top.
“He went straight up the field, did two one-two’s, beat two people and stuck it into the back of the net,” Sasnett said.
Although Spartanburg would score once more, it wouldn’t be enough.
Sasnett said the depth of his team had a heavy hand in the win today, as he looked to his bench to keep the intensity up as Spartanburg challenged them throughout the duration of the intense second half.
“After the first half we were so banged up, we had a ton of guys come off the bench, but they stepped up, and they played well,” he said.
Fortunately the Cavaliers have time to lick their wounds and heal up before they hit the road for Phoenix on Nov. 15, for the coveted national title. The Lady Cavs are now scheduled for the NJCAA National Championships in Melbourne, Fla., beginning Nov. 17. Seeds are to be announced Monday.