West Forsyth girls soccer falls in third round of playoffs: Still plenty of positives this season

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 30, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Jay Spivey

For the Clemmons Courier

The West Forsyth girls soccer season ended last week, and what a successful season it was.

West Forsyth (17-4-1) was the No. 3 seed for the NCHSAA Class 4-A tournament and after winning the first two games of the tournament, it faced No. 6 Waxhaw Marvin Ridge in Clemmons last Monday in the third round.

Marvin Ridge won the game 4-2 to end the season for West Forsyth and first-year Coach Jeffrey Williams, who replaced Scott Bilton after last season and was previously the boys coach at West Forsyth.

“It’s been good,” Williams said. “The coaches and the players, it’s all been fun to be around and back into coaching girls soccer. It’s a different pace.

“It’s in the spring, so that, there’s some good things about that, some bad things as far as scheduling, timing and weather and some different things. But overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better season. I saw a lot of improvement from probably most if not all the girls, both individually, also with their confidence.”

After playing the past three months, Williams saw so many positives from the Titans.

“(I’ve) definitely seen the team grow, and they bonded well, he said. “So, I’m pleased with all of that.”

Marvin Ridge (13-4-5), which defeated No. 26 Charlotte Myers Park 6-0 in the quarterfinals last Thursday and was scheduled to play host to No. 8 Mooresville in the semifinals Monday night, defeated West Forsyth with the help of two goals by Jessica Mattson.  

Mattson scored the final goal to make it 4-2.

“At 3-2, they actually had a breakthrough with their best player, Williams said. She sort of drove through most of our team and went to the opposite end and scored on the opposite side of the field. 

“And we had problems containing her throughout the whole night. And she’s a fantastic player. 

According to Williams, Mattson’s ability was really high.

“Their style of play led into her having some space available, Williams said. “But we were just hoping to keep it tight defensively and then be able to counter and to go at them. But (we) weren’t quite able to do that or we would’ve put another in the back of the net. The effort and the intensity of our girls was awesome. They did really well.”

Williams said the Mavericks took a 1-0 lead early in the first half early in the first half, but the Titans, who were playing without Abby Reutinger, who was injured, knotted it at 1-1 off a set piece by Hallie Kramer. The Mavericks countered to take a 2-1 lead at halftime.  

The Titans tied it again early in the second half on a goal by Aislynn Maguire, but the Mavericks regained the lead early- to mid-second half to take a 3-2 lead. Mattson scored the insurance goal for the Mavericks late in the game.

“It probably took some wind out, but there’s still some fire there, Williams said. “The girls kept playing along.”

After losing to Marvin Ridge, it gave Williams and the team a chance to reflect on the season. West Forsyth was 13-0 in the Central Piedmont 4-A and finished one win short of finishing the conference season with a perfect record after losing to East Forsyth on the final night of the regular season.

“It could go either way. Playoffs are all about matchups, Williams said. “I mean, you see that in professional sports and collegiate sports all the time. It’s just about matchups and what team’s doing what well at that particular time. Can you defend it, or can you attack whatever they’re doing? 

“So, Marvin Ridge was a very good team. And we have no shame (in losing to them), so there’s always this what if? You know, what could I have done better to prepare us for that? Like, I guess it’s the greedy nature of maybe being the coach, but always like reflecting and evaluating to say what could I have done more? Could we have progressed and still be playing soccer? 

When the Titans won their games, they were dominant. They outscored their opponents 91-29. 

“I think for a good deep reflection, you have to remove yourself from there and then circle back with a fresh mind, Williams said. So, I’ve told a few people this year that in the past couple years, I’ve done a lot better myself of reflection in the season when I don’t beat myself up and I forget different things.  

“I’ve gotten more mature, less stressed, can sleep on it. And then the next day, sort of reevaluate some things. Some people or positions or things I said at certain times could’ve been bettercould’ve been different times. I follow that approach to the macro training of the season and evaluation. 

Next season will be different for Williams in that he won’t be coaching the boys soccer team at West Forsyth this fall. John Blake will be coaching the boys team.  

“This year was tough, Williams said. … There’s been a lot, like moving parts and current family and trying to, with two teams, we had two great seasons. I mean, the only home losses we had in both boys and girls were playoffs. We lost a home playoff game in guys and home a playoff game in girls.”