Williamstown girls soccer team’s impressive run ends in state semis

Photo by Josh Hughes Williamstown’s Lydia Conner (24) battles Fairmont Senior’s Kathleen Gribben for possession of the ball during Friday’s Class A girls soccer state semifinal match.

BECKLEY, W.Va. — A Tricia Lemasters hat trick sunk the Williamstown Yellowjackets in a 4-1 win for Fairmont Senior in the second of two Class AA/A semifinal matches in Beckley.

From the start, Lemasters and the Polar Bears (17-2-1) asserted themselves. That made Williamstown’s first visit to the state tournament a brief one. An Emma Berman goal off an assist from Ella McMullen in the 74th minute was the only score allowed by goalkeeper Rebecca Cox. Still Head coach Ben Rinehart reflected on a watershed year for his program, as the future looks bright for the ‘Jackets.

“Hats off to them. They came out with a great game plan,” he said of the No. 3 Polar Bears. “One of our themes of the week was perseverance. One of the things I’m most proud of these ladies is that they never gave up. When anyone else would’ve given up, Emma Berman scores off an assist from Ella. It shows these girls have no quit in them. When you have something like that, you’re able to build on that for the future.”

For Lemasters, she got to the state tournament as a freshman and has evolved into one of the state’s best strikers. She showed that ability in the 24th minute on a breakaway goal that left Williamstown GK Sophie Folwell shaken up. The Polar Bears took advantage with Folwell out, as Lemasters struck again in the 27th. She talked about her performance today with Charleston Catholic on the horizon in the AA/A title match.

“It was just about making sure I don’t run into the keeper, hitting a good corner pass and making sure you don’t get injured,” she said of her first goal. “It feels amazing. Honestly, the progress of the seniors in my class, we’ve all progressed so far in soccer. We’ve all gotten to become better players and people. Being able to win with them is a fantastic feeling.”

Williamstown says goodbye to seniors Camryn Irvin and Katie Pickering, as the Yellowjackets look to retool going into next season. As one of the squad’s top scorers, McMullen reflected on this year and everything that went into WHS’s team chemistry.

“I just thought our energy was much better in the second half,” she said of why WHS found more opportunities later in the match. “That’s one of the things we always need to improve on by coming out with energy and intensity. I just really loved this season, and I had the most fun with this group of girls. It was one of the most positive soccer teams I’ve ever been on, so just the memories I’ll take from this season, I’ll take more than anything.”

Natalie Chambers saw more chances to find the back of the net, as her confidence grew with each passing minute. She also spoke of her state tournament experience and what this season meant to her.

“I think I was just getting more windows, and I think our attacking and center-mids opened up all the lanes we had,” she said. “I think we’re very good with our perseverance and our game, in general. We never gave up. This season means a lot to me, because I’ve played with those two seniors for a long time in my life. That’s sad that their graduating, but I’m glad I have another season left to come back and do this.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com.


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