RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. - Williamstown soccer coach Mike Albertson thought the anticipation of his first child being born was a waiting process.
Thursday night in a Class AA/A, Region IV, Section 1 final at Ravenswood Elementary School, the second-ranked Yellowjackets survived several anxious moments while trying to preserve a shutout against Ravenswood.
Thanks to the heroics from its defensive front (Evan Fowler, Joseph Buckley, Michael Goertler and Gearick Watt), and keeper Garret Butler, Williamstown managed to pull off a 2-0 win and capture just the program's second sectional championship, and first since 2008.
JEFF BAUGHAN Special to The Times
Williamstown’s Evan Fowler heads the ball over Ravenswood’s Mason Carte during a sectional final Thursday. Williamstown won 2-0.
"In the second half, I felt like I was waiting for my first baby to be born - the clock wasn't moving fast enough," Albertson said. "But I had confidence in the team. We knew to expect a push, and we needed to make smart decisions."
Next up for Williamstown (15-1-3) is a date in the Region IV finals at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday at Ripley High School against top-ranked Charleston Catholic, which defeated Huntington St. Joe 2-0 in Thursday's sectional championship in Charleston.
Against Ravenswood (14-6-2), Williamstown limited the Red Devils to one shot on goal in the first half.
But the complexion of the match changed in the final 40 minutes as the Red Devils turned up the heat and pelted Butler with five shots on goal.
"Our defense has been playing just phenomenal all season," Albertson said. "And Garret Butler in goal made some huge game-saving saves. When you have the veteran experience that we have in the back, there is no substitute for that."
Providing all the scoring in the Yellowjackets' ninth shutout of the season was Josh Walters. The senior captain, who scored twice and assisted on another in Tuesday's 3-0 sectional semifinal victory against Parkersburg Catholic, put his club in front 1-0 with 10:55 remaining before intermission.
On the play, teammate Brandon Semon sent the ball inside the box and Walters headed the pass top shelf above Ravenswood keeper James Carmichael.
With the one-goal lead still intact late in the second half, Walters answered again.
Moments after Ravenswood senior captain Mason Carte was issued a yellow card and went to the sidelines, the Yellowjackets immediately went on the attack as Jarric Hoskins delivered a pass to Walters in stride. Walters took possession just outside the box and raced past two defenders. As Carmichael came out of the net in attempt to shut down the angle, Walters delivered the shot into the back of the net for a 2-0 advantage with only 6:44 remaining in regulation.
"Finally," Walters said following the awards presentation.
"Ravenswood got pretty close to scoring a couple of times, but our defense played the best I've seen all year. They stopped everything. Garret had a couple tough shots come in and he still saved them."
The Red Devils' only other threat for the remainder of the match occurred with three minutes showing as Carte gathered in a loose ball deep in Williamstown territory and broke free toward the net. Carte let loose his shot with plenty of pace, but was denied as Butler cradled the ball waist-high.
"The defense did a great job - they've been knocking down plays all year," Butler said. "Ravenswood got a couple of good shots off, but our defense took away the angle and made the saves easy for me."
Class AA/A, Region IV, Section 1 final
At Ravenswood Elementary School
Williamstown 2, Ravenswood 0
Ravenswood (14-6-2) 0 0 - 0
Williamstown (15-1-3) 1 1 - 2
W: Josh Walters (Brandon Semon assist), 10:55, 1st half
W: Walters (Jarric Hoskins assist), 6:44, 2nd half
Shots on goal: Ravenswood 6, Williamstown 10. Keeper saves: Ravenswood (James Carmichael) 8, Williamstown (Garret Butler) 6. Corner kicks: Ravenswood 4, Williamstown 3
Next match: Class AA/A, Region IV final - Williamstown vs. Charleston Catholic, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ripley High School.