Sports

April 20, 2013

NW, Dalton boys facing off for region soccer title

Dalton High School midfielder Alan Pantaleon likes beating a rival soccer team three times in one season.

The senior hopes he and his Cat-amounts do it again in three days.

Pantaleon scored two of Dalton’s goals in a 3-0 win against Southeast Whitfield in Friday’s Region 7-4A tournament semifinals at Harmon Field. The Cats once again proved they were a notch above by beating the Raiders for the third time this season, including the second time in eight days.

The result, plus Northwest Whitfield’s 5-1 win at River Ridge, means the Bruins (13-4) and Cats (16-0) each will play at least one round of the Class 4A state playoffs at home and face each other Tuesday at Harmon Field for the region championship.

Dalton, the No. 1 team in eurosportscoreboard.com’s Class 4A poll, beat fourth-ranked Northwest 6-1 and 3-1 during the regular season. The Cats beat the sixth-ranked Raiders 3-1 and 2-0 earlier, with the latter win on April 12.

“It feels great,” Pantaleon said. “Right now we’re just focusing on the final. ... I want to play (Northwest) again and beat them three times.”

As had the Cats and Bruins, the Raiders (8-4-1) had already clinched a spot in the playoffs, but will play River Ridge on Tuesday for the region’s No. 3 seed for the state playoffs one year after claiming a region championship.

With the Raiders already trailing 1-0 at halftime on Friday, Dalton scored a quick goal in the second half. Even worse, Raiders coach Kevin Kettenring classified it as a “soft goal,” one Southeast gave just as much as Dalton earned. Pepe Gardea’s long free kick in the 43rd minute sailed uncontested over the Raiders defenders and Pantaleon was within 5 yards of the goal when he volleyed the ball past a helpless Abel Mendiola, Southeast’s goalkeeper.

“You just can’t do that with a good team like this,” Kettenring said. “A preventable goal, that’s what I mean by soft.”

In the 82nd minute, Dalton striker Ramiro Huitanda, known for finishing chances, passed one up.

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