Dalton forwards net hat tricks in win over Colts

Matt Hamilton/Daily Citizen-News

Dalton High School's Nathan Rincon heads a ball into the net for a Catamount goal during Tuesday's game against Coahulla Creek High School.

In the 55th minute of Dalton High School's home soccer match against Coahulla Creek High School, junior Ivan Mora sent a corner kick to junior forward Nathan Rincon, who headed it past the Colts' goalkeeper.

The goal didn't mean much to the game with Dalton already holding a 5-0 lead, but it gave Rincon his first hat trick (scoring three goals in a game) of the season.

Less than two minutes later, sophomore Miguel Perez followed suit, gathering the ball off a rebound on the right side of the net before sending it toward the back of the net for his third goal.

Despite the strong performances, the hat tricks didn't have much value to either. As long as Dalton left victorious, which it did 7-0 over the Colts, they were happy.

"The hat trick didn't mean much to me," Rincon said. "I don't care who really scores as long as my team scores. I just want to get the win. It does give me confidence in my game and let's me know I can step up if my team needs me."

"We do what coach tells us and follow the plan and hope for a great win," Perez added.

Both offenses had their chances in the early minutes. Dalton (2-0) almost scored in the opening five minutes off a throw from Mora, but Coahulla Creek goalkeeper Fabian Perez punched the ball out.

Coahulla Creek (0-1) then went on the offensive as freshman Emmanuel Arrendondo broke free, but he was quickly run down by Dalton keeper Aaron Fraire, who smothered the ball.

"I think we pressured pretty hard at the beginning of the game," Colts coach John Linder said. "The first half was pretty strong on our end. Obviously the boys, I thought, got a little bit pressured went they got those three goals. I'm proud of the boys. We've got things to work on, but for the most part, we have a pretty solid team."

It wasn't until the 17th minute that Dalton would break the stalemate with a goal by Perez. Mora set up a corner strike, which gave junior Tony Saldana a good look, but Arrendondo kept the ball out of the net. But that put it in the reach of Perez, who fired it home.

From there, Dalton kept the pressure on offensively. The Catamounts outshot the Colts 18-4 in the match and were able to create solid looks for their shooters.

"Once we saw we got them frustrated, we knew we could take out their weak spots," Rincon said. "We just went in where they got tired."

In the 20th minute, Saldana would get a second chance, scoring on a short kick from the left side of the goal to give the Cats a 2-0 lead. Dalton held a commanding 4-0 lead by halftime after two goals from Rincon.

Despite the lead, Dalton coach Matt Cheaves didn't want his players to quit executing the game plan. They responded with a goal from Perez in the 42nd minute, again off a second-chance effort, to give Dalton a 5-0 lead.

Dalton was for the most part able to keep the ball away from goalkeeper Aaron Fraire, who finished with four saves on the night.

"We kept a clean sheet," Cheaves said. "Defensively, we were very organized there until the last 10 minutes or so. That was a good sign. Usually, early we're worried about defense more than offense, so that was a good sign."

Dalton will host McIntosh High School on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Coahulla Creek returns home to face Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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