March 23, 2014

Devin Golden: Will Northwest put an end to Dalton’s streak?

Two weeks ago, Northwest Whitfield’s boys soccer team played top-notch Dalton even for 89 minutes and some change.

That night was the closest the Catamounts have come to losing on their undefeated run, and while it didn’t happen, Dalton wasn’t pleased with its performance.

So expect Dalton to have something to prove when the teams play again Thursday at Harmon Field.

With one week left before Spring Break 2014, the orange and blue from Northwest will try again to end Dalton’s undefeated streak, now at 32 straight matches. The boys match begins at 7 p.m. after the girls match, starting at 5 p.m., concludes.

The first meeting, a 1-0 win in extra time for Dalton, wasn’t a Sub-region 7B-4A match.

This one is, and while Northwest is pretty set to finish fourth in the standings regardless of the result, the Bruins wouldn’t mind gaining a win against the No. 1-ranked team in Eurosportscoreboard.com’s Class 4A coaches poll.

Dalton wouldn’t mind reasserting dominance and killing any good vibes Northwest has from being a diving save from goalkeeper Samuel Fraire away from beating the Catamounts.

“This is far from our game,” Dalton center midfielder Eder Mora said after the first Dalton-Northwest match. “It’s a reality check. We haven’t lost a game in a while. We need to realize at any point the streak could end and we also need to realize the streak doesn’t matter.

Northwest has been a tough side to figure out this season. When the Bruins play well, they are a very tough side to defeat. Yet, there are times they leave you wondering what happened.

The Bruins have the 1-0 loss to the Catamounts — a result they can be proud of — and a 1-0 win against Southeast Whitfield, also a ranked team in Class 4A. Yet, Northwest has a 4-1 loss to Southeast, a 4-2 loss to Heritage-Catoosa.

Aside from a 2-2 draw on March 14 in the Cleveland (Tenn.) Classic against Dobyns Benett, of Kingsport, Tenn. — a match the Catamounts dominated — Dalton has won each of its 32 matches since the start of the 2013 season.

• On the baseball field, Thursday has a good one in Region 5-3A.

That’s when Coahulla Creek visits North Murray for a league game. After the opening week of region games, the Colts from Coahulla Creek are 0-2 while North Murray’s Mountaineers split a pair. Both have an opportunity to enter this local-versus-local matchup with wins, as both play Tuesday. Coahulla Creek welcomes Gordon Central while North Murray visits Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe.

• The second week of Sub-region 7B’s baseball schedule begins Tuesday, and all three local teams in the league are playing out-of-area schools.

Northwest finished 14-1 last season in sub-region games and won the league — with Heritage finishing second. The Bruins and Generals play this week with Northwest and Heritage both atop the standings — along with Dalton — with 3-0 sub-region marks. Northwest and Heritage play in Tunnel Hill on Tuesday and Friday and in Ringgold on Thursday.

Dalton plays three times against Ridgeland, which was swept by Northwest. The Tuesday and Friday games are in Dalton while the Thursday game is in Rossville.

Southeast is matched up with another 0-3 team in the sub-region, LaFayette, and is the only of the three playing two road games. All of the games this week for the three teams start at 5:30 p.m.

• I was mistaken last week when I told you Murray County and North Murray would play in soccer.

That matchup will happen this week, though, as confirmed by both boys coaches.

Murray County visits North Murray on Friday with the girls starting at 5 p.m. and the boys at 7 p.m. Both sides are contending for their respective region titles — Murray County in 7-2A and North Murray in 5-3A — but the “Murray Madness” (the name I just came up with) holds little significance in region standings and a whole lot in pride.

• Speaking of madness, my NCAA college basketball tournament bracket is in shambles. I was perfect for the first nine outcomes, but then St. Joseph’s decided it didn’t want to play anymore and let Connecticut come back in regulation and win in overtime.

I almost picked Mercer to beat Duke. Almost.

Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen and always finds an onion ring in his Burger King french fries. You can write to him at devingolden@daltoncitizen.com or follow him on Twitter at @GoldenDev.

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