Bulldogs convert in second half, remain undefeated, in beating Western
By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Williams senior Max Sommer knew the importance of the first meeting of the season with the Western Alamance boys’ soccer team.
It was clear that sense of urgency was shared by all the others on the Burlington Memorial Stadium field.
The Bulldogs scored the only second-half goal to secure a 3-2 victory Monday night in the Central Carolina 3-A Conference.
“We’re still undefeated and this takes us to the top of the conference, so it was really important for us to get that win,” Sommer said.
Sommer, a striker, scored Williams’ first two goals and assisted on Angel Granados’ winning goal, which came with about 25 minutes remaining.
[Hear Sommer’s comments (below) after the the big win.]
The Bulldogs (10-0-1, 3-0 Central Carolina 3-A Conference) were the 2019 Class 3-A state champions and Western won the 2021 state title, so these teams know about big games.
The Warriors (5-3-2, 2-1) had a six-game unbeaten streak end. Western’s goals came from Noah Barrett and Keith Johnson.
“It’s always an exciting game, a lot of talent,” Western coach Camden Brooks said of the matchup with the Bulldogs. “We know that in conference a lot of times it’s going to be us and them.”
Western had quick responses to the first two Williams goals. With the score tied 1-1, Sommer blasted a shot off the crossbar.
His next good chance he converted on a header with one minute to play in the first half. But the Warriors got the ball deep into the box and scored to pull even with three seconds to go prior to the break.
“We were a bit on edge,” Sommer said of defensive breakdowns. “We just didn’t catch on until the second half, but once we did, we started shutting it down.”
The Bulldogs notched the winning goal in transition when Sommer fed Granados in stride heading toward the box. The back-and-forth element ended there.
“This rivalry is always a close game,” Williams coach Jeremy Krist said. “You hope you can get the last one.”
The Bulldogs controlled portions of the final 20 minutes.
“As the game went on, we kind of wore down a bit,” Brooks said.
Players from both teams are familiar with each other, many competing together on youth circuits.
“We always say, if we don’t win any other game, we win (against) Western Alamance and Southern Alamance,” Sommer said.
With the Warriors the reigning state champions, that has the Bulldogs on a mission.
“That’s our goal this year,” Sommer said.
Williams has outscored its first 11 opponents by a combined total of 35-8.
“It has been a big year so far,” Krist said.