GROVETOWN — With 3:27 left in Grovetown’s season-opening soccer match, Joe Dauda’s night was done.
Dauda’s early exit was well-earned as he scored four goals while leading the Warriors to a 5-2 win over Hephzibah on Friday night.
“He’s a great player who’s really grown the past three years,” Warriors coach said Glenn Vaught of his striker. “He’s got good explosiveness and he plays in space perfectly.”
The Warriors controlled the ball from the opening whistle but it took until just over 13 minutes were gone before Dauda got the ball down low and was able to get it by the Rebels’ goalkeeper Andre Simpkins.
Simpkins was under duress the entire night and made 11 saves, seven coming in the first half.
Dauda froze Simpkins, going left to right for his second goal, stuffed home a rebound for goal No. 3 at the 29:15 mark of the second half and finished with a long blast from about 20 yards out, beating Simpkins high and to the right with just over 16 minutes to play.
“I felt my speed helped a lot,” said Dauda. “It’s from all the running in practice.”
Trailing 1-0, the Rebels (0-2) had a great opportunity to shift momentum in their favor when Nick Goodwin was taken down from behind deep in the Warriors’ half and was awarded a penalty kick. His shot slid wide left and the moment was gone.
“Nick’s our best shooter,” Rebels coach Jonathan Martindale said. “I talked to him about it. He wanted to go hard but changed his mind at the last second and tried to go soft.”
Goodwin did get the Rebels on the board as he was able to find the net with 181/2 minutes to play, cutting the Warriors lead to 4-1, but Dauda answered two minutes later.
Cody Phillips scored the Rebels final goal with one second left for the final margin.