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Dawson looks to grow from opening season losses
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Senior Raleigh Payne fires a free kick into the night during a regular season game at Tiger Stadium earlier in the year. - Photos courtesy of Ryan Coker for the Dawson County News

The Dawson County High School soccer program started the regular season last week with a pair of non-conference games that tested the early season mettle of both teams.

Opening the year on the road against the Forsyth Central Bulldogs on Feb. 4 and starting the home campaign against the Cartersville Hurricanes on Feb. 7, neither the Tigers nor the Lady Tigers posted a victory in the first week of the 2020 campaign.

Tigers

Forsyth Central jumped out to an early lead against the Tigers in the first game of the year and quickly built on their success to take a 6-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Despite the deficit, Head Coach Patrick Muenchen gathered his team together and focused on the positive aspects of being on the wrong side of such a lopsided score.

“We talked about how adversity reveals character,” Muenchen said. “I challenged the boys to watch how they communicate to each other and respond to the referees and rough play from other teams. They answered the challenge beautifully.”

Heeding their coach’s advice, the Tigers returned for the second half and fought a hard battle with the Bulldogs, but in the end, submitted to the mercy rule and recorded the game as a 10-0 loss.

Taking to the field in front of the home crowd, Dawson County posted the first goal of the season, only to see the lead quickly evaporate with two quick goals from the Hurricanes. For the second game in a row, Dawson County found themselves trailing at the half, this time by a score of 2-1.

“We made some good strides for our game against Cartersville on defense,” Muenchen said. “We also had some great help from our bench in our Cartersville match. Our back up keeper Mason Truett did a great job.”

Another goal from Dawson County in the early moments of the second half kept the game close, but in the end the Tigers fell by the score of 5-2 and moved to an 0-2 record to begin the season.

“These first few matches are our weightlifting. We are training to get stronger.” Muenchen said. “We are hoping to perfect our game by the time we hit region, sometimes we are faced against giants. It will only make us stronger.”

The Tigers return to the road for another non-conference match versus the Creekview Grizzlies on Feb. 11 with kick-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Lady Tigers

The first week of the new season for the Lady Tigers did not go as expected with a 7-0 loss being handed out by the Lady Bulldogs in Forsyth, followed by a 3-1 losing battle with the Lady Hurricanes at home.

According to Head Coach Chess Hamby and much like their male counterparts, the team understands that soccer season is a long-haul journey, and the short-term setbacks can be used to build and grow a good program.

“We have seen improvement each game,” Hamby said. “The girls have been positive through the rough start and I 've been very proud of the leadership. We are looking to be the best that we can be in March and April... and hopefully into May.”

The Lady Tigers will play the Lady Grizzlies in the early match, scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. kick-off on Feb. 11.

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