Darton’s Andrew Palumbo, left, blows past an Andrew defender in a game earlier this season. Palumbo and the Cavs are unbeaten.
ALBANY — Ranked No. 1 in the latest NJCAA poll and undefeated through seven games, the Darton men’s soccer team has plenty of talent.
But there’s a little more to the star-studded junior college team.
And that’s what has coach Bart Sasnett most excited.
“I’m really pleased with their maturity,” Sasnett said. “They don’t really talk about (the No. 1 ranking). Don’t get me wrong, they are proud of it, but it’s one of those things where they came here expecting it.”
Sasnett continued: “We did so well last year (third at nationals), that they knew our program had national recognition and they came expecting it. Everything is rolling the way they were expecting it to.”
Darton was able to sustain its early-season success even with several starters out of the lineup.
Throughout the first seven games — which included matchups against powerhouses San Jacinto College (Texas) and Tyler College (Texas) — the Cavs were without as many as five starters.
“Several kids were trying to get eligible, some had red card suspensions and there were some injuries,” Sasnett said.
Some of the Cavs out of the lineup included goalkeeper Carlos Catano (personal obligations), Patrick Dacosta, Soren Yuhaschek (two-game suspension for a red card), Seve Llama (injury) and Jorge Chirinos (injury).
However, the team was completely healthy and suspension free in Tuesday’s win against Thomas University and is ready to keep its historic season going Setp. 20 against Middle Georgia.
“I am expecting it to be an entertaining match for sure,” Sasnett said. “Everybody plays us different. They play us harder and play us intense.”
LADY CAVS MAKING PROGRESS: The Darton women’s soccer team started the season with two straight losses, but since then the Lady Cavs are 2-1 and on the verge of turning a corner.
“We are right there,” coach Ken Veilands said. “We are on the verge of doing some good things. Every game we get a little bit better. We are young, but I think we are getting there.”
And they are getting there with better communication.
“We finally have a system where players are understanding each other better and working better together,” Veilands said.
The Lady Cavs will have a huge test this weekend when they host Gordon College today and No. 3 Brevard on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a test,” Veilands said.
WATCH IT LIVE: Darton College will now be streaming home soccer matches on its athletics website.
Home games will be available live and archived at cavs.darton.edu.
Veilands understands there is a risk of opponents having easy access to film for scouting purposes, but he thinks the video will be a positive.
“Realistically, it gives us a chance to evaluate ourselves, and it gives the players a chance to watch themselves on video,” Veilands said.