Catholic heads to state soccer tourney
RIPLEY - Williamstown had a little surprise for Charleston Catholic on Tuesday evening.
"I don't think we were expecting Williamstown to be that defensive,'' said Fighting Irish senior Adam Fox. "They played hard in the first half and we matched that intensity in the second half.''
Fox scored the first of three second-half goals as No. 1 Catholic disposed of No. 2 Williamstown 4-0 in the Class AA-A Region 4 final. A crowd of about 100 attended the boys high school soccer matchup at Ripley High School.
Catholic (21-0-2), the three-time defending state champion, advances to the state tournament semifinals and will take on Bridgeport (17-4-2) on Nov. 2 at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley. Bridgeport downed Philip Barbour 5-0 in the Region 2 final.
Senior Sam Revercomb gave the Irish the lead for good at 1-0 Tuesday with 25:05 left in the opening half off an assist from senior Kiefer Hovorka.
Revercomb received a pass from the deep right corner and with one swift swing of his leg blasted the ball into the net, but that was all Catholic could muster as the Yellowjackets (15-2-3) packed in their defense on the Irish's side of the field.
Fox gave Catholic some breathing room less than five minutes into the second half on a tally off a setup from senior Luke Smith for a 2-0 advantage. Fox sent a laser from about 20 yards inside the right post.
"I really think it loosened us up and set the tone in the second half and we just took it from there,'' said Fox of his goal. "We just played real confident and patient.
"We were able to relax and play a little freer. I just think we moved the ball around quicker and took less touches and it just opened up. We took our time and put the ball in the back of the net.''
The floodgates opened after Fox's goal with Catholic freshman Anthony Cipollone and senior William Scriptunas adding scores 36 seconds apart for a 4-0 advantage with 22:21 to go.
"[Williamstown] came out with a game plan to really play defensive on us,'' said Catholic coach Sam Fox, whose team ran its unbeaten streak to 53 matches. "We sneaked one in on them and man, they played good defense in the first half. In the second half we made some adjustments.
"We started playing the ball out a little bit wider and spreading their defense out a little bit and opened up the center and we got some additional goals. Then when we got that second goal, Williamstown had to press up in an attempt to get a goal of their own and that opened up the back even more.''
Williamstown, which was unbeaten in it last 13 games, advanced to only its second regional in school history and first since 2008. Yellowjackets senior keeper Garrett Butler turned in 10 saves, including four in the first half to keep his team within striking distance.
"Charleston Catholic is just an exceptional team,'' said Williamstown coach Mike Albertson, who saw his squad outshot 16-1. "They're just so strong and they controlled the play.
"I thought we did a good job in the first half kind of containing them and slowing them down, but in the second half too many defensive breakdowns. They're the kind of team that just takes advantage of those opportunities.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.