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Two Road Tests in Georgia Await Eastern Florida Men's Soccer Team

Sept. 5, 2013 - Eastern Florida State College's nascent men's soccer team faces two important games in Georgia this weekend.

The Titans, who split the first two matches in their inaugural season, face nationally second-ranked Darton College (2-0) at 7 p.m. Friday and Middle Georgia at 3 p.m. Saturday. Both games will be on Darton's campus in Albany, GA.

Eastern Florida opened its season on Aug. 23 in Perkinston, MS, defeating Mississippi Gulf Coast 4-0 but then falling 3-1 to nationally sixth-ranked San Jacinto (TX) College the next day. The Titans finally play their first home match at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 against Broward College. Admission is free.

Eastern Florida plays Broward three times to determine which team advances to the NJCAA Division I postseason. But before Eastern Florida head coach Oliver Twelvetrees, assistant coach Josh Schirmer and their players can worry about that Darton looms large.

"Darton on Friday really gives us a test of where we can be, where we are and where we have to get to," Twelvetrees said. "This is probably the best team in the country.

"I know quite a few of the players very well. Darton recruits heavily in Florida. We battled over some players. I won some, he (Darton head coach Bart Sasnett) won some. It's going to be a big test."

Darton has scored 10 goals in two games, defeating Monroe Community College 6-0 and Georgia Perimeter College, 4-1. Freshman forward Darwin Espinal leads the Cavaliers with six goals. Freshman Jorge Chirinos has a team-best four assists.

As for Middle Georgia: "I would hope to be able to put in a better performance on the second day than when we were in Mississippi," Twelvetrees said. "I think if we do that, we'll win the game."

Twelvetrees is pleased with his team's effort but also knows it can be better.

"We're a threat, we have a number of threats going forward," Twelvetrees said. "But we haven't quite clicked in terms of producing our best chemistry on the field. We do need to really find it this weekend.

"We're still trying to . . . find our best attacking lineup. In the midfield we're still leaking way too many goals for my liking. We need to clean it up. Our goalkeeping position, we've very happy. I'm sure (freshman) Jorge (Madera) will continue to be very good."

Freshman Alejandro Diaz leads Eastern Florida in scoring with two goals. Classmates Jordan Muir, Aurturo Roosen and Farias Juarez have one apiece. Juarez has a team-best two assists.

Madera has allowed three goals and recorded seven saves in 135 minutes played.

Overall, one month into the Titans' time together as a team, with two regular season games and four scrimmages behind them, Twelvetrees has qualified praise.

"I think we're in a good place, I think we can improve," he said. "There's room to grow, there's areas where I'm happy and there's areas where, you know defensively we need to tighten up.

"I knew we had potential coming in. I'm happy that we've shown it but there's more to come."