March 27, 2014

Fending off all threats

Early scare from NW doesn’t stop Dalton's unbeaten streak

Northwest Whitfield High School’s boys soccer team did in six minutes Thursday what it couldn’t do the entire match 2 1/2 weeks ago against Dalton.

Unfortunately for the Bruins, the Catamounts didn’t have much trouble scoring, either.

Despite Northwest’s sixth-minute goal to take a 1-0 lead, Dalton scored three times in the first half and earned a 4-1 win at Harmon Field to close out both teams’ Sub-region 7B-4A schedules.

Bryan Villa’s shot in the sixth minute at the far post hit the net in the top corner, just beyond Dalton goalkeeper Samuel Fraire’s hands. It was the first time Dalton (11-0-1, 6-0) trailed Northwest (5-5-3, 2-3) in any of the five matches during the Catamounts’ undefeated streak, which is now at 33 matches.

The last time the teams played, Dalton’s 89th-minute goal in extra time was the lone score in a 1-0 win for the Catamounts.

“That goal they scored was a beautiful goal,” Dalton coach Matt Cheaves said. “... We just kept our heads, stuck to the plan and stayed together a lot better than when we played them the first time.”

Northwest’s lead against the No. 2-ranked team in eurosportscoreboard.com’s Class 4A poll didn’t last long. Justen Macias scored in the 13th minute with an assist from Javier Rodriguez, while Kobe Perez converted a penalty kick in the 14th minute following a Northwest foul in the goalkeeper’s box.

“That took any momentum from us,” Northwest coach Ryan Scoggins said of the second Dalton goal. “Even at 1-1, the pressure is on them.”

Eder Mora put Dalton ahead 3-1 in the 38th minute as he converted a cross from Rodriguez, who made a nice move to beat a Northwest defender down the left side of the field. Cristian Saldana closed the scoring in the 69th minute, converting a cross from Perez.

Aside from Villa’s beauty of a shot, Northwest didn’t have any threatening chances to score. The Bruins finished with two shots while the Catamounts took 11. Northwest goalkeeper Jose Marquez made five saves.

“You want to see a progression in the team,” Cheaves said. “That’s what I’m seeing. Early in the season, there are things you have to work out and then other problems come up. You keep wanting the team to continue evolving in a positive way.”

Dalton already had the sub-region’s top seed for next month’s Region 7-4A tournament locked up before the win, and Northwest would’ve been the No. 4 seed regardless of the result.

Scoggins believes the Bruins, who reached last year’s Class 4A semifinals — Dalton won the title by beating Southeast Whitfield — need to grow up before the season vanishes.

“Our team is not a mature team,” he said. “Last year’s team was a veteran one. This year’s team is not. Our record is indicative of that. ... We just haven’t been able to close out the ties and made mistakes in the 4-1 loss to Southeast and this one to Dalton.

“Both teams deserved to beat us. They’re both great teams. But 4-1 sounds a little more lopsided on the scoreboard than talent-wise we’re capable of showing on the field. ... We get to go down to River Ridge on April 15 (for the region tournament). As I told the guys, if we lose that one, then we’re done.”

Northwest girls 2, Dalton 2 (4-2): Northwest took the penalty-kick shootout as two of the Lady Catamounts’ attempts were too high and Juliana Gomez converted her chance to give the Lady Bruins (9-2, 4-1) the Sub-region 7B-4A win and the No. 2 seed for the region tournament.

Dalton (7-3-1, 3-2) finished third in the sub-region.

“I’ll give Northwest credit,” Dalton coach Tony Carlson said. “When they get their attack moving, they are hard to stop.”

The Lady Cats held a 2-0 lead at halftime. Deanna Marquez converted a penalty kick after Liz Cloud was fouled in the goalkeeper’s box. Naellely Carrizales scored later in the first half with an assist from Alondra Salaises.

Northwest’s Ashlee Huynh scored early in the second half with an assist from Nanzy Paz, who tied the game less than five minutes later.

“When we score we get going,” Northwest coach Melissa Torbett said. “Getting that first score helps.”

After the match remained tied through the 80 minutes of regulation time and the two five-minute periods of overtime, Northwest converted four of its five penalty kicks. Huynh, Paz and Vanessa Lara converted in order for the Lady Bruins before Gomez.

Marquez and Angeles Altamirano converted in order for Dalton.

Northwest goalkeeper Gracie Holmes made eight saves against 15 shots from Dalton, while Dalton goalkeeper Alex Brumbelow made three saves against 13 shots from the Lady Bruins.

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