DEVOLA - Soccer is all about creating opportunities, but even more important than creating opportunities is cashing in on them.
In the first ever girls match between Marietta and Williamstown Thursday at the Devola Soccer Complex, the Lady Tigers took just one shot in the contest compared to 17 shots for the Lady Yellowjackets. But the only shot that found the back of the net was the one taken by Marietta's Beka Haught with 10 seconds remaining in the first half to give the orange and black a 1-0 victory, its first of the season.
Tigers keeper Nora Gulick logged a clean sheet, saving 14 of Williamstown's 17 shots to make Haught's goal stand up and get Marietta (1-3-2) off the schneid.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Marietta High’s Tanner Moss (15) foot dribbles the ball as Williamstown’s Ellie Gardner (22) defends during non-conference girls soccer action at the Devola Soccer Complex Thursday. The Lady Tiger booters won 1-0.
"It feels really good," said Marietta head coach Jeff Price. "We worked hard for it. It was a battle. Each and every one of them took a step forward again and if we keep doing that we're gonna have a decent team here."
After Williamstown (1-1) dominated in time of possession for most of the first half, Haught collected a turnover with about 20 seconds left in the period. She took the ball up the right side of the pitch and booted it across the field to the left side of the net and out of the reach of Williamstown keeper Heather Albertson for the goal.
That was the only shot the Tigers took in the match and they made it count.
Marietta 1, Williamstown 0
Williamstown (1-1) 0 0 - 0
Marietta (1-3-2) 1 0 - 1
M - Beka Haught goal, unassisted, 40th minute
Shots - W: 17; M: 1
Keeper saves - W: 0; M: 14 (Nora Gulick)
Corner kicks - W: 9; M: 0
Next matches: East Fairmont at Williamstown at 11 a.m. Saturday; Marietta at Cambridge at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
"We talked before the game about playing a complete 80 minutes," said Williamstown head coach Mike Albertson. "Then we played about 79 minutes and 15 seconds. We gave up that goal with less than a minute in the first half. Just a breakdown. Turned the ball over and Beka made a nice shot and finished. She's a gifted player."
"(Haught) broke their line," Price added. "She had somebody on her shoulder but she was very determined. I think that's what drove her to the edge. You could see the determination and she was gonna get the shot off. She actually made a really nice shot."
While Marietta converted its lone opportunity, Williamstown was unable to finish any of its 17 shots.
"We pretty much did everything we wanted to do tonight, we just couldn't finish. I'm disappointed with the outcome, however, I thought effort was very good. We did a lot of things, we possessed the ball, we knocked the ball around, we had chances, we had corners, we just couldn't buy a goal tonight."
Gulick made seven saves apiece in each half but really shined in the second period. She made two diving stops in the first 12 minutes of the half and later dove for another in the 68th minute when Williamstown's Ally McMullen had good look at the net. Perhaps the biggest save came with a minute-and-a-half remaining in the match. Sidney Hill handled the ball in the right corner before making a cross pass to Victoria Buckley near the net. Buckley hit the ball off her chest but right at Gulick who secured the ball and essentially ended the match with that save.
"She's improving as we go along," Price said of Marietta's goalie. "She's getting better." The Yellowjackets will look to rebound Saturday in their home opener against East Fairmont. The Tigers are off until Wednesday when they travel to Cambridge for a league match.