For the first time in program history, the Dalton State College Roadrunners will make an appearance at the final site of the NAIA men’s soccer national championship tournament.
Dalton State downed Indiana Tech 2-0 in the tournament’s second round on Saturday at Dalton Stadium to advance to the tournament’s final site for the first time. The Roadrunners are one of 10 teams that will compete for the national title starting Dec. 1 in Decatur, Alabama.
Dalton State (16-1-3) is the second-seeded team in the final 10-team bracket and will receive a bye into the national quarterfinals. The Roadrunners will await the winner of a Nov. 29 game between St. Thomas and Lindsey-Wilson. The Roadrunners will then play that winner at 5 p.m. on Dec. 1.
After an opening-round shutout win over Columbia International (12-3-7) on Thursday, the Roadrunners kept another clean sheet on defense and scored an early goal in each half to grab the historic victory.
Justin Riescher got Dalton State on the board with a goal just 5:50 into the game. Leonardo Seixas assisted on the early goal.
That score held through the first half as the smothering Roadrunner defense allowed just one total shot in the first half of Indiana Tech.
Riescher’s goal was scored early in the first half, but the second-half goal came even more quickly.
Just 32 seconds were all the Roadrunners needed to get an insurance goal after the break.
Seixas assisted again on a goal by Josh Ramos.
The visitors only got off one more shot in the second and had just the one shot on goal in the entire game. Dalton State keeper Michael Barrueta stopped that one.
Dalton State had 12 shots, six of which were on frame.
Ramos, who also scored in the first-round game on Thursday, led the Roadrunners with six shots and four on goal.
Dalton State advances to the tournament’s final site a year after grabbing the program’s first tournament win. The Roadrunners were the top seed in the Dalton bracket and used that home-pitch advantage to advance.
The Roadrunners are one of three teams from the Southern States Athletic Conference to advance to Decatur. William Carey and Mobile are also among the 10 teams that will reach the site.
The national champion will be crowned on Dec. 5.