Darton’s Lyana Perez shoots past Georgia Military College defender Linda Rodriguez during Wednesday’s game. Perez scored twice in Darton’s 5-0 victory. (Staff Photos: John Millikan)
ALBANY — The Georgia Military College women’s soccer team was hanging around with nationally ranked No. 8 Darton on Wednesday, trailing by a single goal and looking for a stunning Region XVII upset.
Lyana Perez had other ideas.
The Darton freshman scored two goals in a span of seven minutes midway through the second half to end GMC’s upset bid and lead the Lady Cavs to a 5-0 victory in the first game of a women’s and men’s doubleheader. The No. 2 Darton men stayed unbeaten in region play with a 3-0 win in the nightcap.
“I was motivated to score goals, because in the first half I felt like I was really slow,” Perez said. “I wasn’t producing goals for the team, so in the second half I felt like I had to go out there and play focused.”
Perez’s two goals increased her season total to 24, which ranks her sixth in the nation in scoring.
The Lady Cavs (13-1, 8-1 Region XVII), winners of five straight, led 1-0 from an early Eleana Colvin goal until Perez scored on an assist from Megan Thomas with 27:20 left in the game.
And then the floodgates opened.
Perez scored again seven minutes later and then Thomas added two goals in the final 12 minutes to complete Darton’s season sweep of GMC. Darton outshot GMC 29-1 and controlled possession for nearly the entire game, but the Lady Cavs’ inability to find the back of the net until late in the contest forced Darton coach Ken Veilands to keep his starters on the field longer than he wanted.
With a game Friday at Georgia Perimeter College that will likely determine the regular-season region winner, Veilands had hoped to jump ahead early and cruise through Wednesday’s game.
“Perimeter is beatable, there is no question about it,” said Veilands, whose Lady Cavs lost to GPC, 2-0, on Sept. 20. “We have the ability to beat them, but I don’t know if tactically we can adjust after this game. We worked maybe a little too hard (Wednesday).”
Georgia Pereimter is ranked fifth in the country with a perfect 10-0 record. A Darton win on Friday would put the national powerhouses tied atop the region standings.
DARTON MEN 3, GEORGIA PERIMETER 0: With top midfielder Jorge Chirinos out because of a red card from Darton’s previous game, the Cavs started slow Wednesday night against a Georgia Military team ranked third in the Region XVII standings.
But an Alejandro Garcia goal four minutes into the second half sparked the Cavs in their final home game of the season. Alejandro Martignon scored just over five minutes later, and then Matheus Ayrolla added the final goal with 25 minutes left to keep Darton undefeated in the region (5-0) and at home (7-0).
“That was as good a half as we have played all year,” Darton coach Bart Sasnett said of the Cavs’ final 45 minutes. “We were off in the first half and just couldn’t find that rhythm.”
The Cavs are 11-1-1 overall and could lock up the Region XVII regular-season title Saturday when they travel to Dunwoody for a game against rival Georgia Perimeter.
“That’s our bread-and-butter game. That’s our rival,” Sasnett said. “We are looking forward to going up there.”