April 8, 2014

Dalton soccer too much for Allatoona

Considering how lopsided the action was, maybe Dalton High School’s boys soccer team should’ve beaten Allatoona by a larger margin.

Converting chances — or the lack thereof — was about the only possible complaint Tuesday for the Catamounts.

Dalton, the 2013 Class 4A state champion, scored its third goal early in the second half and added one more late for a 4-1 victory at Harmon Field over its Class 5A opponent. The win keeps the program undefeated through its past 35 matches and gives Southeast Whitfield the next shot at beating Dalton when the Sub-region 7B-4A rivals play Friday at Raider Stadium in a game which has no bearing on the sub-region standings.

Dalton center midfielder Eder Mora sent a laser from the left side of the 18-yard penalty box low and inside the far post for a 3-1 lead at the 43rd minute. That was the first threatening chance for the Catamounts (12-0-1) post halftime after scoring just twice from a bevy of close opportunities and 14 total shots in the first half.

“It’s kind of frustrating to not score when you’re getting chances,” Dalton coach Matt Cheaves said, “but then you have to relax.”

Dalton center defender Pepe Gardea finished the scoring with a header in the 77th minute.

With the way Dalton played on defense and in the midfield, the two first-half goals were more than enough. A program coming off a run to the state quarterfinals a year ago, Allatoona (9-3) only took two shots in the first half and one in the second 40 minutes. Throughout the game, the Catamounts played poised, controlling possession, forcing the Buccaneers to play the chasing role in a game of keep-away.

“Defensively, we played great,” Cheaves said. “We took care of the things in the back that we needed to.”

In the first half, Dalton earned multiple crosses to the front of the goal that ended up as missed opportunities. In the 12th minute, Dalton scored when Mora’s lob behind the defense set up striker Justen Macias for a flick past Allatoona goalkeeper Mitch Feathers.

Allatoona only took five minutes to accrue its first chance and make the most of it. A deep throw-in in front of the Dalton goal was deflected by a swarm of players and Griffin Rousseau finished in an open net for a 1-1 tie.

Dalton didn’t regain the lead for 20 minutes. A free kick from Mora sent in front of Allatoona’s goal found the head of Gardea, but Feathers made the deflecting save. Midfielder Victor Solis’ rebound shot also was deflected by Feathers, but striker Josh Satterfield was in perfect position to finish the play with a goal.

“Dalton was clearly better than us,” Allatoona coach Erik Fridborg said. “They’re bigger, stronger and faster than us. We were just trying to get a better second half of moving the ball around. We knew they’d probably get their goals.”

Feathers made eight saves for Allatoona, and Dalton goalkeeper Samuel Fraire had a quiet day with just one save.

Dalton girls 2, Ringgold 0: The Lady Catamounts (8-3-1) scored early, and didn’t take long scoring again before relying on sound defense.

Deanna Marquez scored in the fifth minute off a rebound and Faby Torres made it 2-0 in the 18th minute when she scored off a deflection from a corner kick.

Like the boys, Dalton plays Southeast on Friday in the last regular-season match before next week’s Region 7-4A tournament.

“I think we’ve seen a lot of times during the season where we start getting a little disorganized,” Dalton coach Tony Carlson said. “Our message is use these two games this week to prepare for the region tournament, and part of that is staying controlled and staying composed. I saw that tonight.”

Dalton took 22 shots to Ringgold’s six, and goalkeeper Alex Brumbelow made three saves for the Lady Catamounts.

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