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Darton’s Veilands earns Region XVII win record

Ken Veilands

Ken Veilands

LAKELAND, Fla. — No. 225 came like so many before it — with absolute domination.

Darton women’s soccer coach Ken Veilands broke the Region XVII record for career wins on Saturday with a 7-0 victory against Polk State College, raising his 13-year record with the Lady Cavs to 225-38-11.

Former Young Harris College coach Kathy Brown previously held Georgia’s NJCAA record for wins in a season, amassing a win-loss total of 224-39-9 in her 13 years with the school.

“I do think about the road of getting here,” Veilands said. “I remember the very first win (vs. Shelton State in 2000). I had no idea if we were going to be good or bad. But we went out to the YMCA and won 8-1.”

Add another seven-goal victory to Veilands’ resume with Saturday’s win against a Polk State College team that had outscored its opponents 24-11 and was riding a three-game winning streak entering its contest with Darton.

“They were a good team,” Veilands said. “They got behind early and ran themselves out trying to get a goal in the first half, and then we popped one in on them to make it 3-0, and that kind of broke them down.”

Lyana Perez, who is ranked in the Top 5 nationally in scoring, and Megan Thomas both had two goals, while Brianna Lemerise, Megan Gladden and Ashley Riles each scored once.

Thomas scored the game’s first goal on a corner kick from Eleana Colvin, and Perez found the back of the net on an assist from Chevelle Lopez to give the Lady Cavs a 2-0 lead going into halftime.

But 10 minutes into the second half, Perez scored goal No. 20 of the season to break Polk State’s back.

The victory was Darton’s first since star midfielder Stephanie Anes went down with a season-ending knee injury against Georgia Perimeter on Sept. 20.

“What’s good about (Saturday) is that we beat a good team and beat them well,” Veilands said. “We lost 2-1 last year, so this was kind of redemption. It was also rewarding because this was our first game without Stephanie and with the adjustments we had to make with her out.”

The Lady Cavs, who are ranked No. 12 in the country, are now 10-1 overall, but they aren’t celebrating their hot start — or Veilands’ milestone victory — just yet.

“Our motto is ‘The true mark of a champion is forgetting the last victory and preparing for the next one,’ ” Veilands said. “Those are things ultimately we can look back on at the end of the season and reminisce about. But right now we have to go game by game.”

The Lady Cavs play again today in Tifton against ABAC.