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Greenbrier boys fall to top-ranked Dalton in semi-final round

Posted: May 13, 2015 - 11:29am  |  Updated: May 13, 2015 - 11:38am
Greenbrier's Connor Washer makes a dive for a ball as Dalton's Isai Hernandez dribbles in the box during Tuesday's game. Dalton shut-out Greenbrier 6-0 in the semi-final round.   Matt Hamilton/ The Daily Citizen
Matt Hamilton/ The Daily Citizen
Greenbrier's Connor Washer makes a dive for a ball as Dalton's Isai Hernandez dribbles in the box during Tuesday's game. Dalton shut-out Greenbrier 6-0 in the semi-final round.

The (Dalton) Daily Citizen

 

For the first 15 minutes of Tuesday’s Class 5A state semifinal soccer match, Greenbrier was dictating both the pace and physicality of the play against top-ranked Dalton.

But Dalton can play physical too, and once the Catamounts adjusted their play, the Wolfpack was unable to stop Dalton in a 6-0 loss at Harmon Field in Dalton.

The Cats (19-0), winners of the last two state titles in Class 4A before moving up in classification this year, will look to add to their trophy collection, advancing to the state finals Friday at Mercer University in Macon. The victory also pushed Dalton’s unbeaten streak to 64 matches. In four state tournament games, Dalton has outscored its opponents 28-0.

“That is probably the best team in the state in all classifications,” Greenbrier coach Tony Cummings said.

Greenbrier ends its season at 19-2-1.

After allowing the rough play through the first 15 minutes of the first half, the officials started calling the game a little tighter. And after Dalton scored back-to-back goals all in the span of two-and-a-half minutes, the frustration began to show. The Wolfpack were given five yellow cards and coach Graeme Connolly was given a red card and ejected from the game.

“It was frustrating to have to play that way after there were a lot of things that were let go early,” Cumming said. “We didn’t get the calls that they felt we should have got and that was frustrating when they took the lead on us. But that was not the reason we lost this game. We had chances early and couldn’t get on the scoreboard.”

Dalton adjusted its defense and did a better job of marking Greenbrier forward Mekhi Honore, putting junior stopper Hernan Saldana on his hip for the rest of the game. Honore was also hampered by an ankle injury early in the match.

“Once we got the marking straightened out and freed our midfielders, we thought the game would go our way,” Dalton coach Matt Cheaves said. “Once we figured out where their guys were coming from, we had a midfielder free to run, and that changed the complexion of the game. It took us a little bit to adjust because they came out strong.”

Dalton outshot Greenbrier 20-8 in the game and led 3-0 at the half. Most of Greenbrier’s offensive chances came in the first half with six shots on goal and four corner kicks as the Wolfpack applied the pressure early. But Dalton was able to clear and goalie Leuri Fraire had three saves. Isai Hernandez had two goals for Dalton, and Kobe Perez had two as well with one coming on a penalty kick in the second half.

“When there is physical play, you have to play physical, and we can do that,” Cheaves said. “People say we are a skill and finesse team, but we can play physical. When physical play is what is being allowed on the field, you have to match it our you are going to get beat.”

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