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Region title or bust for the Lady Cavs

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

For the Darton State Lady Cavaliers soccer program, region championships aren't just hoped for, they're expected.

That's the case again this week as the team chases it's third straight championship, even with the Lady Cavs as the number two seed.

Ken Veilands' team has a bye in the first round of the tournament.

The Lady Cavs are back to work preparing for Friday's semi-finals.

Veilands says his team knows the expectations of this program when they're recruited and they've embraced them.

Now with a three peat on the line, the Lady Cavs are focused on doing what this program is expected to.

"We don't want to let down the tradition of Darton," says sophomore midfielder Emily Atkinson. "We all know this is an elite program, and that's what we shoot for every game, every season."

"The goal is that we want to win national championships, and this is one of the steps along the way," says head coach Ken Veilands. "When this week starts, we're pretty motivated. It's just keying up and making sure we make the right decisions in preparing."

One thing that will help is having home-field advantage.

The men's and women's region tournaments are both being played on Darton's campus this year.

That is only an advantage for the Lady Cavs, who went 8-1 at home this year, outscoring opponents 29-6.

"It's absolutely awesome being able to play on your home field," says Atkinson. "Having your fans out here to support, we love it."

It's not just the on-field advantages of being home that help the Lady Cavs either, explains Veilands.

"You stay in your own bed. The field is right here across from the dorms, classrooms, all that stuff. You can't beat it," he says. "You're on your home field and you get to play right here in your backyard."

The Lady Cavs will open region tournament play vs. Middle Georgia in the semi-finals Friday at 6:00 p.m.

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