Second-half goals push DSC men's soccer into SSAC tourney semifinals

Dalton State College's men's soccer team scored both of its goals after halftime to pull away from Middle Georgia State 2-0 Friday in the quarterfinals of the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament.

The third-seeded Roadrunners and sixth-seeded Knights battled to a scoreless tie after the 45-minute first half in a quarterfinal game played at Dalton's Lakeshore Park. The Roadrunners finally broke the stalemate 70 minutes in with a Zachary Perry goal that was assisted by Jurgen Ramirez.

Balmore Cruz assisted on a goal by Justin Riescher just 17 seconds before the end of the match to grant Dalton State all the breathing room it needed.

Dalton State advances to the semifinal round of the SSAC tournament in Montgomery, Alabama, on Wednesday. The Roadrunners face second-seeded William Carey for the right to advance to the finals, which are the following Friday.

In Friday's quarterfinal, Dalton State (12-4-1, 6-2 SSAC) broke through in an evenly-played contest late for the win over Middle Georgia State (3-12-3, 2-5-1 SSAC). The Roadrunners held a shot advantage of 7-4, and Middle Georgia State managed just one shot on goal, which Dalton State keeper Michael Barrueta saved.

Riescher and Ramirez were the Roadrunner shot leaders at two apiece.

In the regular season, Dalton State lost its matchup with semifinal opponent William Carey 3-2 on the road in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The Roadrunners navigated last season's SSAC tournament to win its first conference title, partially thanks to the championship contest being canceled due to poor weather.

The Roadrunners dipped to third in the conference this regular season after an undefeated run through the SSAC last season, but the Roadrunners' only two conference losses were close affairs against the top-two seeds, Mobile and William Carey.

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