Being officially labeled a guest on their own field didn’t seem to bother Williamston, which scored two goals in the first five minutes of its regional semifinal match against the Freeland Falcons.
Hunter Lyle added a third goal with 8:41 left to play in the first half and the Hornets held on to win 3-2.
Last year was the first year Williamston (17-7-1) made it to the regional tournament. They’ll make more school history when they face Frankenmuth (22-3-1) in their first regional final game ever at 7 p.m. Friday.
“I thought we dictated the play early,” Williamston coach Brent Sorg said. “And we let them (Freeland) get back into it with a mental lapse.”
Zach Sundin scored off a rebound on a corner kick from Devin Bender three minutes in. Thirty seconds later Sundin set up senior Ross Needler on a give-and-go at the top of the box. Needler finished the play with two touches, settling the ball then blasting it by Falcon goalie Ryan Spaulding to give the Hornets a 2-0 lead.
With 8:50 left to play in the half, Needler fed the ball to Lyle, who attacked the Falcons’ goal box from the left side. As two defenders closed in and a third cut off any chance of a cross pass, Lyle beat Spaulding on a shot to the far side of the net.
“I couldn’t have done it without the pass in (from Needler),” Lyle said. “The other team was great and defended really well. At the end of the day we just worked really hard to make it happen.”
The Falcons (17-6-1) responded two minutes later when Jacob Whitting scored on a header off a corner kick. Mitchell Droste got the assist.
Song felt the corner kick should have been cleared and said it was as a mental lapse that allowed the Falcons back into the game.
Nine minutes into the second half, Andrew Kipfmiller tapped in a cross from Robert Boyes to make it a one-goal game.
As the second half progressed, the pace of the game picked up as both teams played more aggressively. Sundin hammered a shot off the cross bar with seven minutes to go but the Hornets wouldn’t need another goal.
Goalkeeper Charlie Coon made four saves and the Hornet defense stayed strong in the last couple of minutes to put the game away.