Saldana's goal lifts Dalton over Southeast in rivalry clash; Lady Raiders down Dalton 2-0

Apr. 12—A David Saldana goal in the second half provided the difference as Dalton held off Southeast Whitfield 1-0 Friday night in the annual rivalry showdown referred to locally as El Clásico.

Dalton (13-4-1) defeated Southeast (11-5-1) 3-0 when the two teams played at Southeast in February, but Saldana provided the only scoring Friday night at Harmon Field in Dalton, with two high-level defenses smothering most scoring chances most of the night.

His goal came with 23 minutes left to play. From the left side of the goal, Saldana bounced a header up and over Southeast keeper Brandon Muñoz. The ball flew out of the reach of the keeper and slid into the bottom right corner of the net.

There wasn't much Muñoz could have done to stop Saldana's lofted header, but the keeper made several key stops to keep Southeast alive.

A steal by Dalton's Angel Salaises gave Salaises a breakaway a few minutes into the second half, but Muñoz made a diving save. The keeper made another save of a Dalton shot after the lone goal, then both Ivan Rodriguez and Diego Paez got good looks at a potential second goal for Dalton.

Rodriguez rocketed one through traffic, but the ball went just a little wide. Paez turned on the jets to chase down a hit-ahead pass for a brief opening, but his shot went a little wide too on a sharp angle.

The Southeast defense was able to limit Dalton to one goal, but the Catamounts didn't let Southeast get many openings in the second half on the way to the win.

The Raiders got loose for a couple of chances in the first half, but were unable to convert.

Joseph Pina got behind the Dalton defense early on, but his rocket of a shot was stopped by Dalton keeper Cristian Sanchez. Another Pina shot later in the half went wide, and halftime arrived without a score before Saldana put in the game's lone goal.

Dalton sweeps the two-game season series with rival Southeast and has won four in a row overall in El Clásico. Prior to the four-game Dalton win streak, the two teams tied four straight games.

It was the final game of the regular season for both teams.

Dalton, the defending Class 5A champion, is the second-seeded team in Region 7-5A and will host Kell in the first round of the playoffs on Wednesday. Southeast, the Region 7-4A champion, will welcome Holy Innocents' Episcopal on Friday.

Prior to the boys game, the Lady Raiders of Southeast used two first-half goals to shut out Dalton 2-0.

Southeast (10-3-1) got on the board just eight minutes into the game.

Dalton (8-5-3) keeper America Quintero charged out of the net to break up a Southeast attack and was whistled for a foul. Southeast's Mayah Camacho took the penalty kick and sent it into the left corner.

After Southeast keeper Yareli Garcia made a stop on a point-blank Dalton shot midway through the first half, Southeast made it 2-0.

Quintero again had to leave the net to block away a shot, but it bounced out to Southeast's Leighanne Torres about 30 yards from the goal.

Quintero got to her feet, but Torres lofted a shot up and over her and into the empty net with 12:01 left in the first half.

After another Garcia stop, the first half ended with the 2-0 score.

The Lady Raider defense didn't let Dalton get many clean looks in the second half, and a potential comeback never materialized. Southeast's Daisy Hernandez sent a header on goal after a corner kick, but Quintero slapped it away to keep the score 2-0.

Both teams will turn their attention to the state playoffs after wrapping up the regular season Friday. Southeast, the second seed in Region 7-4A, will host Druid Hills in the first round of the 4A playoffs on Thursday. Dalton, the Region 7-5A champion, gets Northview at home on Tuesday.