WILLIAMSTOWN -They say defense wins games.
The No. 4-ranked Williamstown High soccer team had a lot of it Tuesday in a 1-0 victory over rival and No. 7-ranked Ravenswood. The win was a nice rebound from a 1-0 loss earlier this season to the Red Devils (10-4-2). It was the only loss of the season for the Yellowjackets, who improved to 11-1-1 on the season.
"It's a big win for us," said Williamstown head coach Mike Albertson. "They're a rival for us, and they're in our section. They beat us earlier in the season 1-0 at their place, so we turned around and were able to get a 1-0 win here. We're pretty evenly matched. They're a good team. They have some good players and do some good things out there."
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Williamstown’s Alex Gedon (15) delivers a boot which makes the Ravenswood defender, right, flinch, during prep soccer action Tuesday. The Yellowjackets won 1-0.
Williamstown got its goal less than five minutes into the second half. Sophomore Laura Petty handled the ball in the left corner and made a nice pass to senior captain Jarric Hoskins. Hoskins made a shot at the goal, and the ball bent to the right and got past the keeper to give the Yellowjackets the lead.
"It was a really good pass from Laura," Hoskins said. "I was trying to clear it. I hit it, and it got up over the keeper and went in."
On the defensive side, which Albertson has emphasized heavily this season, Williamstown came up big in clutch situations. The most important moment came with 12 minutes left in the second half.
Williamstown 1, Ravenswood 0
#4 Williamstown (11-1-1) 0 1 - 1
#7 Ravenswood (10-4-2) 0 0 - 0
W: Jarric Hoskins goal (Laura Petty assist); 5th minute, 2nd Half
Shots on goal: W 17, R 13; Keeper saves: W 13 (Garret Butler), R 16; Corner kicks: W 5, R 5
Next match: St. Marys at Williamstown (Senior Night), 5:00 p.m. Thursday.
With the Yellowjackets up by one, the Red Devils got a corner kick opportunity.
The kick was high, and as a cluster of players jumped to get it, a Ravenswood player got his head on it and angled it to the right side of the goal. Williamstown keeper Garret Butler was positioned on the left side of the goal, and it looked as though it would be a goal for the Red Devils.
However, defender Joe Buckley came in and jumped and headed the ball right back out for the save. It was one of 15 saves made by Williamstown in the match. Butler made several crucial plays, including a few diving stops, to preserve the shutout.
"We really focus on team defense," Albertson said. "Not only the four defenders and the keeper, but overall team defense. My philosophy is to build strength in the back. I want to have a strong defensive team. We have our goal keeper that's been so dominant, and our outside backs, our sweeper. They all played an outstanding game."
Being a rivalry game, naturally things got heated at times, especially with both teams playing very physical.
"It's difficult because the intensity and passion picks up," Albertson said of keeping his players composed. "Williamstown/Ravenswood over the years in soccer has been a big rivalry. I stress to the players that we have to stay composed. You've got to play under control, and you cannot afford anyone taking stupid fouls. It's only gonna hurt the team. I really stress staying composed."
The Yellowjackets had 17 shots on goal in the game to 13 by the Red Devils.
Williamstown is back home Thursday when it hosts St. Marys.