Williamstown girls soccer in state semis today

Times file photo Williamstown girls soccer head coach Ben Rinehart addresses his team during a break in the action in a game against Linsly earlier this season.

WILLIAMSTOWN — It all comes down to this, as the Williamstown Yellowjackets are on a mission to bring home a Class AA/A state title in Beckley.

With a goal differential of +58 and a record of 14-2-1, the ‘Jackets have momentum heading into a semifinal matchup with Fairmont Senior at 12:30 p.m from the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex. The high energy and togetherness displayed by the team comes from a genuine bond. These Yellowjackets enter the semis as the No. 2 seed, and they feel like they can beat anyone.

More than just a couple players contribute offensively, as head coach Ben Rinehart’s bunch doesn’t need to rely on a single scorer. That’s what helped get them out of a deficit in Winfield to make it to the state semifinals, as goals from Emma Berman, Natalie Chambers and Ella McMullen lifted WHS to a 3-1 win, avenging a 3-0 loss in the team’s first match of the year. Rinehart spoke to his team at the half of that match, and they responded like a championship contender should.

“They’re a really good program, and we played them enough,” Rinehart said of Winfield. “The girls worked really hard, and we got to see them early in the season. It was a team victory. It wasn’t just one thing that we did. Those kids hopped in there and they all did their jobs very, very well.”

Rinehart says his team is 19-strong and that the selfless attitude is what got the squad over the hump against Winfield. Now, attention turns to that pivotal Fairmont Senior matchup. They’re led by, but certainly not limited to two of the top players in Class A, McMullen and Berman, who have scored 17 and 16 goals respectively. They aren’t concerned about personal accolades. They want to go to Beckley on a successful business trip. McMullen and Camryn Irvin joined Chambers to speak about this process and what it took to get to the biggest stage in girls’ soccer.

“I just think that we are a super-positive team,” Irvin said. “We have really high expectations, and we support each other a lot. We’re really excited to see how far we can go and what we do. I think we have a super-high chance of making it to the state championship game. We definitely are a very well-rounded team, and we have a lot of strengths.”

McMullen added her thoughts on this barrier-breaking Williamstown team, as the school’s first girls’ soccer championship is in sight.

“It’s something new for us, too,” she said. “We’re really excited to be the first ones to do it. I think we’re also just out here to have fun. We’re going to keep it positive. We all really love each other and love being on this team, so we’re going to keep at it for as long as the season takes us.”

Chambers echoed that same message of unity ahead of one of the biggest matches in program history.

“It’s such a great experience for the team, and we get to have that for the school, for the first time, altogether,” she said.

Fairmont Senior (16-2-1) possesses true firepower, as well. Tricia Lemasters netted 26 goals en route to this appearance, and she’s not alone. Adaline Cinalli scored 17 goals, while Seneca Arbogast struck 14 times. The remedy for this threat comes from goalkeeper Sophie Folwell and the WHS defense.

“Our defense has done a great job this year. They’re able to contain girls really well, and they make my job a lot easier,” Folwell said. “We’re preparing, and we’re going to do what we need to do to shut them down. I think we’re confident in our ability to shut them down. We have great team chemistry on and off the field. We’re a really tight group, and that helps us play better on the field.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com


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