DSC men's soccer gets first NAIA tournament win, advance to finals of opening-round bracket

A Justin Riescher goal just after halftime lifted Dalton State College men's soccer to a first-round win over Tennessee Wesleyan Thursday in the NAIA national tournament's opening-round bracket in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Just 38 seconds after the break, Riescher scored the game's only goal after Connor Nixon hit him with a crossing pass. It's the first ever win in the NAIA tournament for Dalton State, which is making its third appearance in the tournament.

The Roadrunners face the opening site's top seed Keiser on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in West Palm Beach for the right to become one of the 10 teams to advance to the tournament's final site in Decatur, Alabama.

Riescher's goal was the difference in a defensive battle that saw only six total shots reach goal. Dalton State (13-5-1) had five of those shots, and Tennessee Wesleyan (12-7-3) keeper Michael Garrihy was only able to stop four.

Dalton State led the shot total 18-5 overall. Roadrunner keeper Michael Barrueta stopped the only shot he saw in the 90-minute contest.

Riescher led the Roadrunners in shots with five.

It was the second matchup of the season for the teams. Tennessee Wesleyan knocked Dalton State off 1-0 during the regular season, but the Roadrunners returned the favor in the one that counted more.

Dalton State plays Keiser after the Seahawks advanced past Florida National 2-0 in the opener Thursday.

Saturday's game marks the deepest postseason run for a Dalton State program on the rise. The Roadrunners made the tournament for the first time two seasons ago, and Dalton State earned a top seed in the tourney last year after winning the program's first Southern States Athletic Conference championship. The Roadrunners fell in an opening-round loss to St. Thomas last season.

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