Special season for Dalton State men's soccer ends with loss in NAIA first round

A special season came to an end Thursday for the Dalton State College's men's soccer team, as the Roadrunners fell 4-1 to St. Thomas in the first round of the NAIA national tournament qualifiers.

It's the first loss of the season for the Roadrunners (12-1-1), which won the Southern States Athletic Conference for the first time in program history.

St. Thomas (12-5-1), the fourth seed in the Lawrenceville bracket, led 1-0 at halftime, then extended its lead to 4-0 over top-seeded Dalton State. Guilherme Franca got Dalton State on the board 82 minutes into the game, but the Roadrunners couldn't catch up.

Dalton State was outshot in the game 11-6.

St. Thomas advances to the finals of the qualifier rounds in Lawrenceville on Saturday.

It's the end of a long and successful season for the Roadrunners. Soccer is normally a fall sport, but the SSAC schedule and NAIA play were moved to spring this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Roadrunners played five games in the fall, beginning Sept. 26, before completing their schedule this spring. The Roadrunners reached No. 5 in the NAIA Coaches Poll, the highest point in program history.

It's the second time Dalton State has reached the NAIA tournament and the second season in a row. The Roadrunners fell in their first-round game last season.

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