CLEVELAND, TN (dsroadrunners.com) -- The Roadrunners soccer team took the short drive north to Lee University to test their skill against the NCAA DII Flames and came away with an impressive upset win over the defending National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Champions by a score of 2-1.
Lee University, a former NAIA member and the 2013 SSAC Men’s Soccer Conference Champion had plans of extending their own win streak to three before Dalton State took to the pitch and halted their plans, and in the process put together back to back wins for the Roadrunners.
Both teams came out and put together a solid first half of play that featured a steady mix of the frontline of Dalton State putting pressure on the Lee defenders by pushing the ball forward and methodical ball control by the Flames of Lee. While the contrasting styles made for an exciting first half of play for those in attendance, it saw both teams go into the half scoreless.
Out of the halftime break the Roadrunners immediately began to dictate the pace of the second half of play by stretching the field, creating open space, and getting a tenacious defensive effort from the backline. It didn’t take long for the Roadrunners to create a scoring opportunity and in the 47th minute of play, Dalton State was awarded a free kick off of a foul by the Flames. Defender Ellis Roberts stepped up and from 25 yards out booted the ball past the Flame’s wall and off the inside of the post to give Dalton State the 1-0 lead.
The Roadrunners continued to put the pressure on the Flame’s defenders and again struck pay dirt as Tyler Hudson and CJ Moore teamed for a spectacular goal that proved to be the game winner. It was Moore’s first goal as a Roadrunner.
Lee continued to fight and their persistence paid off in the 86th minute of play when Matt Brody and Jake Molony teamed up for a textbook one-timer to give the Flames their only goal of the game. In the end the athleticism of Dalton State proved to be too much and the Roadrunners were able to come away with a very impressive win over an experienced, established, and successful NCAA program.
Dalton State head coach Kerem Daser was well aware of the challenges facing his first year Roadrunner squad coming in to the game, “Lee University is an athletic (soccer) program that wins National Championships.” Coach Daser went on to say, “It was a huge win for us, it was a great atmosphere for soccer!”
Even after what could be considered the programs signature win up to this point, the Roadrunners head coach is focused on the season ahead saying, “we should enjoy the win, but just tonight. We need to be down to earth and humble and get after it in training, it’s a long season.” The head coach was also quick to point out the sportsmanship exuded by the host team, “After the game the Lee University coaching staff and players were so classy and full of sportsmanship. It is nice to see and we wish them a great season.”
For the match the Roadrunners attempted 6 shots to 14 by the flames. Goalkeeper Diego Gonzalez continued his steady play in his second start for Dalton State with an impressive five saves for the match. With the win Dalton State moves to 4-1-1 on the season, while Lee suffered their first loss and falls to 2-1.
Dalton State will look to make it 3 straight wins when they travel to Owensboro, KY on September 19th for a 1:00p.m. (CT) match against Brescia University.