RIPLEY -The road reached its final destination for Williamstown soccer.
Seeking to advance to the Class AA/A state tournament for the first time, the second-ranked Yellowjackets allowed three goals in a 13-minute span during the second half and lost to top-ranked Charleston Catholic, 4-0, in a Region IV championship Tuesday night at Ripley High School.
Williamstown ends the campaign at 15-2-3, while Charleston Catholic improved to 21-0-2 and extended its streak to 53 consecutive matches without losing a match. The three-time defending state champion Irish will play in the state semifinals on Friday, Nov. 2 at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley.
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Williamstown’s Kade Kiselica, left, and Charleston Catholic’s Lucas Gocke chase down a loose ball during Tuesday’s Class AA/A, Region IV championship at Ripley High School. The top-ranked Irish defeated the second-ranked Yellowjackets, 4-0, to advance to next week’s state tournament in Beckley.
"They are just a very strong team," Williamstown coach Mike Albertson said. "We knew going in we would have to play our best, and in the first half I thought we did a pretty good job containing them. We were composed. We let them knock the ball around.
"In the second half, we lost a bit of our structure and discipline on defense, and they were able to take advantage."
Defense had been a staple of Williamstown all season. Entering last night's match, no opponent managed more than two goals in any one match.
The Yellowjackets had allowed only 12 goals in 19 matches, but even their preventative tactics could not thwart Charleston Catholic's domination on the offensive side of the field. The Irish finished with 11 shots on goal compared to two for Williamstown.
The first official Yellowjacket shot on goal wasn't recorded until two minutes into the second half when keeper Garret Butler exited the box to gather up a loose ball and punted it downfield - where it trickled into the waiting arms of the Irish keeper.
At that juncture, Williamstown was still in the thick of things trailing 1-0.
"We were going through the line at the end for the handshakes -I turned to their goalkeeper and I told him he should be kicking on Sundays," Charleston Catholic coach Sam Fox said. "The guy can kick the ball. He's got a great punt and he played a heck of a game."
The only scoring before intermission occurred at the 25:05 mark when Kiefer Hovorka's centering pass found Sam Revercomb waiting in the middle of the box. Revercomb's shot then sailed just inside the left corner of the net.
"Williamstown came out with a gameplan to really play defensive on us," Fox said. "We snuck one in on them, but they played good defense there in the first half.
"At halftime, we made some adjustments and started playing the ball out a little wider. That spread their defense out, it opened up the center and we got some additional goals."
Moments after a shot attempt from Charleston Catholic's William Scriptunas deflected off the left upright and fell harmlessly out of bounds, teammate Adam Fox had better luck when his shot on goal ricochetted off the right upright and sailed into the back of the net for a 2-0 Irish lead at the 35:23 mark of the second half.
With 22:57 remaining in regulation, the Irish struck again as Anthony Cipollone scored an unassisted goal. The final goal of the night arrived less than a minute later as Scriptunas converted an assist from Domenic Cipollone with 22:21 showing on the clock.
Playing in their final match were 10 Williamstown seniors.
"I don't want tonight's loss to diminish the season we had," Albertson said. "We had an exceptional season. We just ran into a buzzsaw tonight."