Darton's leading goal scorer Diego Ramos, who is also the fourth-leading goal scorer in the NJCAA, added to his tally Wednesday when he netted a shot during a 4-1 win against Georgia Military.
ALBANY -- When the Georgia Military College men's soccer team took a 1-0 lead in the opening minutes of Wednesday night's 2011 home opener at Darton, Cavalier sophomore J.R. Rynearson said he wasn't worried.
And why should he have been?
Diego Ramos tied the game in the seventh minute and Rynearson added two goals and an assist to Javier Anor as the No. 3 nationally ranked Darton men rolled to a 4-1 Region XVII win. The Darton women also defeated GMC on Wednesday, 5-0.
The Darton men's team (4-1, 3-0) entered Wednesday's game with its brand new No. 3 ranking -- the highest in the history of the program -- but it was GMC (1-1, 0-1) that came out firing first. Max Faublas took advantage of a defensive miscue by the Cavs and punched in the game's opening goal on an assist from Steve Marion.
"It was shocking that we came out pretty flat," said Rynearson, an outside left midfielder who played high school at Choctaw High School in Fort Walton Beach, Fl. "I honesty don't even know what happened on the goal. It was just a ball that got loose in the box, and we didn't get it cleared. They got to it first and put it away."
But Darton coach Bart Sasnett said the Cavs responded well, especially considering Wednesday's game came just four days after its first loss.
"Coming back from going down a goal early, this team shows that it can be resilient," said Sasnett, whose Cavs lost to Louisburg College (N.C.) on Sunday. "They bounced back. We dominated the possession. That was a good Georgia Military team. That's the best Georgia Military team I have ever seen. They were good. We beat them 12-0 last year, so that gives you an impression of how good that program is getting."
As good as the Bulldogs were, Darton was even better. Ramos' goal evened up the score, and Rynearson found the back of the net with three minutes left in the half to give Darton the lead.
"Once we score, we start pressing hard and keep pressing and keep scoring, scoring, scoring," Rynearson said.
Two minutes into the second half, Rynearson scored again. The goals were the second and third of his collegiate career. With 12 minutes left in the game, Rynearson assisted Anor for the game's final goal.
"He is getting stronger week-by-week," Sasnett said about Rynearson. "He is having better and better games. He doesn't start off too well, but he sure does finish."
Sasnett also complimented Ramos, who entered the game as the fourth-ranked scorer in the NJCAA with four goals and six assists.
"Diego Ramos by far was the best player on the field," Sasnett said. "He is playing on another level. Not many players have come out on this field and played the way he has this year. Every team that we have played against, he has been the best player on the field, hands down."
Ramos and his teammates have made Darton one of the most talented teams in the country and the favorite to win the region this year.
"Darton is the best team in the conference," GMC coach Karem Daser said. "Coach Sasnett does a great job, and they have the best bench, too. We have a hard time matching up with their bench. They showed us how good they were tonight. They are the team to beat in the conference.
Darton's next game is at home Friday against Meridian Community College.
DARTON WOMEN CRUISE: The eighth-ranked Darton women's soccer team didn't just beat Georgia Military College in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader -- the Lady Cavs dominated the Lady Bulldogs in every corner of the field.
Nikki Terrell and Shelby Bush each had two goals, and the Darton midfield and defense didn't allow GMC (1-1, 0-1) to get a single shot off as the Lady Cavs (2-1, 2-0) cruised to a 5-0 victory.
"I think our execution was pretty sharp and everything went pretty smooth as far as what we wanted to do," Darton coach Ken Veilands said.
Ex-Lee star Hatch goes down with possible serious injury
ALBANY --- Lee County graduate and two-time Herald Player of the Year Rachel Hatch suffered a possible serious knee injury in the first half of Wednesday's game against Georgia Military College.
In the 24th minute, Hatch caught the ground with her left foot and went down writhing in pain. She is scheduled for an MRI today, but Darton coach Ken Veilands said it could be as serious as an ACL or MCL injury.
"We lost a really good player to an injury, and hopefully it's not as severe as it appears," said Veilands, who said Hatch's speed is her biggest asset.
"She is the fastest player on the field, and we certainly can't afford to lose her. We just have to cross our fingers and hope it turns out OK."
Darton dominated the time of possession and attempted 28 shots, including Sashanna Campbell's goal three minutes into the game. The other four goals also came in the first half -- Bush in the 17th and 24th minutes and Terrell in the 28th and 42nd minutes.
Lee County grad and two-time Herald Player of the Year Rachel Hatch had an assist, as did Deanna Reali, Lindsey Warner and Shenel Gall.
Terrell, who received a medical redshirt last year after MCL and ACL injuries, scored her first two collegiate goals.
"It was her break out game," Veilands said of his freshman forward. "And we are going to need her with Shelby and Haisha (Cantave) having quad injuries. We talked about her needing to step up, and she did."
Terrell, a Pace High School (Fla.) graduate, said it was the first time she felt like herself since high school.
"They felt good," Terrell said of her goals, which were both one-on-one situations with a defender. "It's been a rough start for the team, and there is a lot of pressure on us. I think at first the team coming together was hard. But I think it is coming into place. Our practices have been a lot more intense lately since our loss (to No. 1 Tyler)."
The Lady Cavs play again Friday at home against Meridian Community College in the second game of a doubleheader with the men.