DC women stunned in title game; men fall, too
ALBANY - Middle Georgia coach Vinny Gill called it "the longest 23 minutes of my life."
Nursing a one-goal lead against two-time defending Region XVII champion Darton College, Gill twitched on the sidelines as he watched his team hold off three Lady Cavaliers scoring opportunities - two of which came in the final two minutes - and Lady Warriors' made the 1-0 lead hold up to claim their first NJCAA Region XVII women's soccer title in school history with a stunning upset Saturday afternoon at Darton.
Cymone Simon's goal at the 33:47 mark of the second half provided MGC with all the cushion they needed to beat Darton for the first time in three tries this season.
The Lady Cavaliers, however, had chances to win, but could never cash in. With 22:12 remaining, Amber Johnson's open kick from 20 yards out hit MGC goalie Cumbie Ashley squarely in her chest. With 2:20 remaining Ariana Walsh's header from 10 yards went wide of the goal and as time expired a last gasp shot by Darton slid just left of the net.
"I can't tell you how good this feels," Gill said. "We worked all season to learn how to play like they (Darton) do. This was a match between two equal teams. Darton Is a great team and winning would not feel as good if it were any other way."
Darton, which closed the season at 14-2-1, opened flat and remained that way until realizing that their hopes of defending their region title were slipping away as the clock slowly bled away.
"I don't know where our emotion was," DC coach Ken Veilands said. "We were off and out of synch. It seems like we have to have a scare before we wake up. But we didn't wake up today. It's hard to beat a good team three straight times and our girls have to learn how not to play scared."
Middle Georgia's girls, who had won just two games the season before Gill arrived in Cochran, now advance to the district tournament next week, while the Lady Cavs' season ends in disappointment.