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Bound for state tourney

POSTED: April 24, 2012 4:30 p.m.
Ryan Coker Dawson Community News/

Chris Bywaletz throws in against Elbert County last week. The Tigers won the game 3-1 and qualified for the state AA tournament.

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Head coach Jed Lacey's varsity boys soccer team has made its way into the state tournament.

The No. 10 ranked in Class AA Tigers split Region 8AA tournament games last week.

The Tigers pulled out a 3-1 win over Elbert County on April 18 before dropping a 3-1 game at North Oconee on April 20.

Dawson County played at East Jackson in a region consolation game on Tuesday. Results of that game were not available as of press time.

In the first round of the region playoffs Dawson County was matched with Elbert County.

The Blue Devils came into the game with an 8-6 record.

It was a defensive battle for the first 40 minutes for both teams.

Blue Devils' Coach Eric Berryman's team got on the scoreboard first with a goal at the 29:02 mark off of a corner kick.

It was a controversial call, as neither the line judge nor referee could agree whether or not the goal was good. The final ruling was a goal.

The Tigers didn't let the call bother them as they rallied to tie 7 minutes later on a goal by Josh Lund with an assist by Brandon Lund.

Dawson County came out with fire in their eyes in the second half. The Tigers scored just 6 minutes into the half on a goal by Chris Bywaletz off of another assist by Brandon Lund.

With 20:41 left in the second half, Dawson County scored its third goal.

Senior Sam Wentworth took a pass from Josh Lund and deposited the ball in the back of the net for a 3-1 advantage.

"What a big win," Lacey said. "The pressure of winning the first game in the region tournament that puts you in state is unreal. You win you're in, you lose you're out."

Lacey said preparation was key in his team's victory.

"My players came out very prepared to play Elbert. We knew exactly how they play their system and we match up perfectly with what their strengths were. We might have saved our best game for this one. Everyone had a part in this victory,' he said.

The win marked the fourth time in the past five years that the Tigers have qualified for the state tournament.

On Friday the Tigers made a long trip to Bogart to face North Oconee.

Dawson County scored first with 30:27 left in the first half on a goal by Josh Lund off of an assist by Stanton Rogers.

The goal was Lund's eighth of the season.

Despite the celebration, the goal was the last of the evening for the Tigers.

The Titans rallied to score the next three goals, all in the first half to come away with the 3-1 win.

"In this game we did not play with any intensity. I think playing a game so quickly with so much importance on it and all the emotion we put into it, we just could not muster the same energy level this game needed to win," Lacey said.

The Tiger coach said a couple of his players did stand out in the game.

"Two players who stood out in the game were defender and captain Stanton Rogers, who is a rock in the back, and Josh Lund, who gave us the lead in the first 10 minutes of the game with one of the prettiest goals I have ever seen. Josh is just such a gifted player and now that he is over his injuries he is back playing at the level he did last year when he was our leading scorer. Stanton Rogers, who is getting ready to sign with LaGrange College to play soccer at the next level, is keeping in tradition with all the other great defenders we have had come out of Dawson County," Lacey said.

The Tigers entered Tuesday's consolation game with a 10-6 record.

 

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