RAVENSWOOD - The stage is set for the rubber match between the Ravenswood and Williamstown soccer programs.
Tuesday night in the Class AA/A, Region IV, Section 1 semifinals, the two schools blanked their respective opponents by identical 3-0 counts and advanced to Thursday's championship scheduled for a 6 p.m. start again in Ravenswood.
In two regular-season meetings, Ravenswood and Williamstown defeated each other 1-0 on its home field. Since losing at Ravenswood on Sept. 11, the Yellowjackets (14-1-3) have won eight matches and tied in four others.
"Wow! That's going to be a very intense, competitive and exciting game," Williamstown coach Mike Albertson said. "Whoever capitalizes on their chances is going to have success -or whoever prevents the other team from capitalizing.
"Right now, our goalkeeper and our defense are playing really."
Ravenswood (14-5-2) actually earned the top seed in Section 1.
"That's going to be an awesome game when we play Williamstown," Ravenswood coach Todd Murray said. "We both have good athletes and good coaches. It's going to be pretty fast-paced. They've got a great goalie, too."
Williamstown 3, PCHS 0
Williamstown completed the trifecta against PCHS after winning all three meetings against this season.
The Yellowjackets wasted little time forging ahead 1-0 in the fourth minute of the first half when Heather Albertson's crossing pass from the left side of the field deep in PCHS territory found Josh Walters waiting in the box. The senior captain used his height advantage and headed the ball above the Crusader keeper.
With 27:45 still remaining before intermission, it was Walters on the giving end. According to Albertson, Walters made "a gorgeous pass" 40 yards from the net and connected with Jarric Hoskins, who pushed the ball through for the Yellowjackets' second goal.
Williamstown, which had 18 shots on goal compared to just one for PCHS, completed the scoring with 34 minutes still showing on the second-half clock when Hoskins and Walters played give-and-go. Walters' second goal of the match originated after Laura Petty's header gave the Yellowjackets possession on the Crusaders' half of the field.
"I'm just extremely happy with our performance tonight," Albertson said. "Our execution was very good and our decision-making was good."
In anticipation for Thursday's match, the health status of starting midfielder Alex Gedon is one area of concern for the Yellowjackets. The senior tweaked his left hamstring midway in the first half then tried to return for the opening stages of the second half.
"We tried to give him a go in the second half, and he seemed like he was limping," Albertson said. "I wanted to get him off the field and get him some treatment to save him for Thursday's night game."
PCHS, which started five juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen, returns its entire roster from a squad which finished 6-8-4.
Ravenswood 3, St. Marys 0
Since losing two in a row, Ravenswood has now won four straight.
Nic Ballard accounted for all of the Red Devils' scoring. His first goal occurred in the second minute of the match then added two scores in the final 13 1/2 minutes of regulation. Ravenswood senior captain Mason Carte stamped his name on all three assists, while keeper James Carmichael preserved the shutout with seven saves.
St. Marys end the season at 5-9-2.
"I know we came out real fast, but after that first goal it seemed like we didn't talk," Murray said. "But we shut them down and that's what matters."