By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
It went right down to the last game of the regular season, with the Williams boys’ soccer team still needing one more victory to secure the Central Carolina 3-A Conference.
Consider that mission accomplished and now bigger goals ahead for the Bulldogs.
“We won the conference so that’s really exciting for us,” senior David Alfaro said. “We always put ‘we’ before ‘me.’ That was our motto. We’ve been playing to it all season.”
By defeating visiting Orange 3-0 on Wednesday night at Burlington Memorial Stadium, Williams finished a game ahead of in-county rival Western Alamance.
Williams (18-1-2, 11-1 Central Carolina 3-A Conference) is set to be the No. 1 seed in the East Region for the Class 3-A state playoffs, which begin Monday night. The Bulldogs will be at home against an opponent to be announced by the end of this week.
“First place,” senior Jose Hernandez said of what the latest result meant. “We just want to win.”
Max Sommer scored two goals and Hernandez assisted on all three goals.
Sommer was set up off Hernandez’s corner kick for the first goal and the Bulldogs tacked on another before halftime when Hernandez fed Alfaro for a breakaway. Sommers notched his second goal, again off a Hernandez assist, with about nine minutes remaining.
Third-place Orange (11-9, 7-4) presented a challenge at times, but the Bulldogs seemed intent on repeating as conference champions. Coach Jeremy Krist said the Bulldogs had the right mindset this week and deserve a chance to celebrate this accomplishment for a couple of days.
The next objective for the Bulldogs is clear.
“Six more games and we’ll try to get six more wins,” Hernandez said of what it will take to capture a state championship.
The Bulldogs are aiming for a second state title in four seasons.
This year, Williams was locked in a tie in the standings with defending state champion Western Alamance entering the week after the teams split their two meetings. The Bulldogs endured their lone loss with a 4-1 defeat October 13 at Western.
More recently, it was an eventful stretch for the Bulldogs. They tied Asheboro, which might be the top-seeded Class 3-A team in the West Region, in a 0-0 outcome last Friday night at home.
Then came a 9-0 rout of Roxboro Person on Monday night, with Emmanuel Bousumo scoring three goals and Sommer and Angel Granados each adding two. Roger Saleron and Hernandez had the other goals.
While that was happening, Western Alamance was dropping a double-overtime decision to fourth-place Northwood, allowing Williams to move into sole possession of first place with one game remaining for each team.
“It definitely reduced the stress level that it worked out the way it did,” Krist said. “We just had to do our part.”