Physical and speedy Darton (Ga.) College powered its way to a 2-0 win over Chandler-Gilbert Community College in the semifinals of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I women’s soccer championship hosted by CGCC on Friday.
Fifth-seeded CGCC (20-2-1) will attempt to finish third when it plays North Idaho at noon Sunday. Darton will play Lewis and Clark (Ore.) College at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for the championship.
“We worked hard, we had some opportunities midway in the second half, we made some adjustments, we hit the cross bar a couple of times, the ball just did not fall our way,” said CGCC coach Jonathan Berzins.
The Coyotes came out strong with four shots on goal in the first half, but late in the half, top-seeded Darton (23-0-1) turned on its speed and went on the attack, resulting in a goal from Darton’s JoAnn Saliba at 41:16.
Just two minutes into the second half, Darton’s Stephanie Daniels ended up with a clear path to the goal to put the Cavaliers in control.
CGCC stayed in the fight and had a couple of opportunities, including a shot from Kayla Poe that bounced off the goal post with 10 minutes left in the contest.
Despite the loss, Berzins said he couldn’t be more pleased.
“We had a great fan base this week,” Berzins said. “We definitely had firsts for our school, winning our district, winning our region, making it to nationals, being in the top four in the country. I look forward to bigger and better things.”
Berzins said he already has “about seven or eight kids” committed to play next year from various East Valley high schools.