October 26, 2006
Albany - It is one of the oldest cliches in sports.
Defense wins championships.
The nationally ranked Darton women's team has scored 134 goals in just 17 matches this season.
But if the Lady Cavs are going to win their first ever national junior college championship, they are going to have to rely on their defense and a strong goalkeeper. Fortunately for Darton they have two of the best keepers in the nation.
Darton goalkeeper Melissa Gamble was only an all-American in her freshman season for the Lady Cavaliers. T
his year she has spent a lot of her sophomore season watching from the bench.
Gamble said "It is hard because I am not used to sitting on the bench.
The reason that Gamble's playing time has been cut has been the arrival of freshman Liana Miller.
Miller said "We do share time. It is not that bad. I have done it before. It is something you have to get used to. Especially, when there are two keepers on the team.
A soccer coach would love to have two talented players in goal but Darton soccer coach Ken Veilands says it is tough to give both the playing time they deserve.
Veilands said "Being a former goalkeeper I know what that is like."
The plan the coach came up with was to let his keepers rotate each game.
And it worked, Darton has allowed goals in just four of their 17 matches this season and both Miller and Gamble stats are among the best in the nation.
But with tougher competition coming in postseason play, both keepers know they are going to turn back every shot thrown their way.
Gamble said "It doesn't matter how good your defense is. We are both going to have to keep our game up because you never know what is going to happen."
Miller said "I think if you are not nervous about the tournament coming up, I think that would be a bit abnormal."
The goal rotation will change this weekend with Melissa Gamble scheduled to get the start in one or both games at this weekend's state tournament.
Veilands said "Right now Melissa has the experience. It is her last year. It is almost written for her.
The weekend starts Friday afternoon when Darton faces Georgia Perimeter in the Georgia Junior College semifinals.