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Darton State College News & Events - Cavaliers Win Game 9, Will Play in
Semi-finals Friday at 5 p.m.

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Cavaliers Win Game 9, Will Play in
Semi-finals Friday at 5 p.m.

November 14, 2012

The Darton State College Cavaliers are headed into the semi-final round of the NJCAA D-1 Men’s Soccer Championship, as determined by a tremendous team effort today against No. 8-seed Western Texas

It was excellent soccer. The Cavaliers, still undefeated, still the No. 1 team in the NJCAA, shut out the Westerners 3-0 without allowing a single shot onto their goal. From the flawless play of sweeper Jaylon Bather in the backfield to the dizzying runs of forwards Andrew Palumbo and Jowayne Laidley up front, the Cavaliers looked good all over and showed why they are the tournament’s No. 1 seed today.

They gave the Westerners all they could handle. The game opened with a barrage of fouls on and off the ball that included some late tackles, jersey tugging and some other unusual (we hope) gestures that won’t be mentioned here, but the Cavs kept their heads and it wasn’t long before All-American midfielder Troy Tucker found Laidley inside the Westerner’s goalbox. A neat pass between back-peddling defenders was all Laidley asked for as he put the Cavaliers up 1-0 in the 14th minute.

But it was still anyone’s game at that point and the match’s intensity was only increased by the sudden goal. Despite remarkable efforts by both sides, it remained a 1-0 match at halftime.

It would be All-Region 17 forward Palumbo who would give the Cavaliers the cushion they needed. In the 65th minute he accepted a brilliant through ball from midfielder Jorge Chirinos. Palumbo’s low-flying shot just escaped the fingertips of an outstretched Western Texas goalkeeper before banging off the side goalpost and ricocheting into the net to put the Cavaliers up 2-0.

From that point on one could expect the Cavaliers to relax, but they continued to push into the Westerner’s goal box and fight for every ball. They’d score again, this time in the 89th minute of the match on a 40-yard chip pass from Luis Zuluaga to Palumbo, who deftly deked the goalkeeper and put the ball into an empty goal.

“It’s a joy to win, every game,” Laidley said after the match. “But this game – to be in the final four now – means a lot.”

The Cavaliers will know by the end of the day, today, who their opponent will be in the semi-final game scheduled for Friday.

“Whoever it is,” Laidley said. “We’ll be ready.”

For more information, visit the official tournament website at http://soccer.darton.edu/.

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