Williams Valley boys add to historic '12 campaign
Published: November 8, 2012
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SLATINGTON - During a historic season that has seen mostly "firsts" for Williams Valley, November 3 instead felt a little bit like déjà vu.
The Vikings and Schuylkill Haven squared off for the fourth time in 2012, and the second time in two weeks with a championship trophy at stake. This time, it was for the District 11 Class A championship.
And like all three games that came before, this one finished with an all-too-familiar sight - the Williams Valley Vikings were victorious.
That part was déjà vu.
The District 11 championship trophy? Just add it to the ever-growing lists of "firsts" for this collection of Vikings.
Damion Solence and T.J. Leiter scored second-half goals three minutes apart, the Vikings' defense posted yet another shutout and Williams Valley toppled Schuylkill Haven 2-0 at Northern Lehigh High School to capture the program's first district title.
Williams Valley was scheduled to make its first appearance in the PIAA Tournament on November 6 when the Vikings were to take on District 2 champion Mountain View at a time and place to be determined. (Details of that game were unavailable prior to print production.)
Package the district title, Schuylkill League championship and the Division II crown together with the now unblemished 22-0 record, and the historic Vikings season continues to move full steam ahead while racking up all the accolades possible.
"Amazing. Awesome. Incredible," Williams Valley head coach Seth Shuey said about the 2012 season. "This season has been an incredible ride, and each one of these accomplishments is so special for this team.
"I know this is old hat, but looking back on what this program was ... there were bad, bad years not too long ago. To see where this is at now, I can't say enough about these seniors that have stuck with this and gotten the program to where it's at."
Those seniors played a large role in Saturday's win, with Leiter notching his 52nd goal of the season and goalkeeper Billy Schaeffer recording his 12th shutout of the season.
But the most important goal came from one of the most least-expected players.
Solence, a junior, scored his first career varsity goal 10:14 into the second half on a scramble in front of the net after a corner.
Matt Underkoffler lofted the corner kick into the box, where Schuylkill Haven goalkeeper Tyler Bartol punched it away. The ball fell to Solence, and at that point instincts took over.
"It's kind of a blur but the ball fell to my feet and I just kicked and it found the back of the net," Solence said. "I was just so relieved it went in and we took the lead."
Leiter blasted a left-footed shot in the bottom, right corner of the net three minutes later to send the raucous Williams Valley crowd into a frenzy. At that point, fans and players could taste the title.
"This is an incredible moment and I'm kind of speechless," Shuey said. "This will all probably sink in on the way home, what this team has accomplished. It's special and there's plenty to be proud of."
"After last season's heartbreaking loss in the district championship, the main goal of the team was to get back to the district final and bring home the championship. And, not just for themselves but for the program as a whole," said Shuey.
"The guys fought hard and played with a lot of heart this evening, we had numerous chances to get the ball in the net but thankfully were able to capitalize on two of our opportunities."
"This win in itself is a win for not just this season, but for every single person that either supported us or played for this team. Tonight alone, our fans probably outnumbered theirs 3 to 1. Without their support this would not have happened and we are greatly indebted to not only our supporters but also the people who played in this program in the past," Shuey said.
For Schuylkill Haven (17-5), it was just the fifth loss of the season, but the fourth to the Vikings.
"This is their year, everything has lined up for them in this season," Schuylkill Haven head coach Vanco Georgevic said. "We come in expecting to play our best, and to win. Unfortunately, we did not score and that's something that needs to change for next year.
"When you go 17-5, for a lot of teams that's a great accomplishment. For us, we have high expectations and maybe this is somewhat of a disappointment, not winning any titles. But this is certainly not anything to be ashamed of, and we'll begin working toward next season."