Darton sophomore Alejandro Garcia is tied for fifth in the nation in scoring with 14 goals as the No. 2 Cavs travel to Melbourne, Fla., today to try to avenge their only loss of the season to No. 7 Eastern Florida State. (Staff photo: John Millikan)
ALBANY — Darton men’s soccer coach Bart Sasnett gathered his team together after the Cavs’ Sept. 6 loss to Eastern Florida State and told them redemption would come soon enough.
“I told them that we would see them again, and that hopefully we can embarrass them at their place like they did to us,” Sasnett said.
The time for the Cavs’ redemption has finally arrived.
Darton (10-1), which rose to No. 2 in the national rankings this week, travels to Melbourne, Fla., today to face No. 7 Eastern Florida State (7-1-1). A victory wouldn’t just avenge Darton’s only loss this season, but it would also set the tone for the rest of the Cavs’ season.
“If we win (today) then we won’t lose the rest of the year,” Sasnett said. “I know I’m usually not that brash, but that’s how I feel.”
Sasnett has every right to be confident in his team, which has outscored opponents 33-2 and has won seven straight games since the 4-3 loss to Eastern Florida State.
Freshman forward Darwin Espinal leads the nation in scoring with 19 goals and 44 points, while sophomore Alejandro Garcia is tied for fifth with 14 goals and 33 points. Jorge Chirinos is tied for second in the country with 11 assists, and goalkeeper Adam Cahill has a goals-against average of 0.54 (13th in the country) and hasn’t allowed a goal in the last three games.
This isn’t the same Darton team that suited up against Eastern Florida State nearly a month ago.
“I think we are clicking on all cylinders,” Sasnett said. “We are healthy, and our team chemistry and morale are high right now. These guys have really come together.
“If we play to our potential we can beat anybody.”
LADY CAVS MOVE UP TO NO. 9: The Darton women’s soccer team is back in the Top 10.
After spending one week at No. 12 in the NJCAA national poll after a Sept. 20 loss to Georgia Perimeter, the Lady Cavs moved up three spots in this week’s rankings.
Darton (11-1) has won three straight games since the 2-0 loss to Georgia Perimeter and will play again Saturday at South Georgia College.
The Lady Cavs continue to be led by freshman forward Lyana Perez, who is fifth in the nation with 22 goals and tied for fifth with 52 points. Chevelle Lopez and Perez are also tied for 16th in the country with eight assists apiece.
GSW GOLF STRUGGLING: The Georgia Southwestern men’s golf team enjoyed success on the national level the past two seasons under top players like Leesburg native Nate Gahman, J.P. Griffin and Craig Gibson.
This year, however, the Hurricanes have struggled during their fall season.
The Hurricanes, who were routinely ranked inside the Division II Top 25 the last two years, finished last in the 17-team Kiawah Island Invitational last month and then finished 12th out of 18 teams in the AFLAC/Cougar Invitational earlier this week — a pair of tournaments GSW won in 2011.
Unlike in past years when GSW was led by experienced upperclassmen, the 2013-14 Hurricanes have just one senior on their roster — Dalton native Nick Ray — and return only one player — sophomore Anders Olsson — from last year’s team that competed in the Peach Belt Conference tournament.
Fraser Johnston was the lone GSW golfer to shoot in the 70s in the second round of the Kiawah Island Invitational Sept. 16-17 and finished tied for 40th for the Hurricanes’ only Top-50 individual performance.
In this week’s Cougar Invitational, all five GSW golfers — Olsson, Johnston, Jordan Baker, Nicholas Ward and Christopher Campos — were in the 70s for every round, including Olsson who finished at 7-over and tied for 26th individually.
The Hurricanes, who received seven votes in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches Poll, play again Monday in the Indian Bayou Classic in Destin, Fla.