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Western Boys Soccer Outpaces Fluvanna For JD Title
Western boys soccer outpaces Fluvanna for JD title
By Bryan Rothamel / Flucoblog.com
Much like the season that set the stage for the Jefferson District tournament title game, the start of the contest was much different than the end of the game.
After a solid start by Fluvanna County, Western Albemarle knocked off the Flyin’ Flucos 3-0 to avenge last year’s loss in the tournament title game.
The Flucos controlled the action for much of the first 36 minutes of the game, taking six shots including four on goal. A missed FCHS opportunity in the 37th minute was the most deflating though and the Western counterattack took advantage.
After a frantic Western clear, Grant Tobler headed it over the Fluvanna defense to allow Richard Beckett-Ansa get free just inside the 18-yard box. Fluco keeper Nick Greco rushed out but Beckett-Ansa got around Greco and found the back of the net.
"We just realized we had to play faster, connect more and our strikers had to get bigger...We had to make a presence for ourselves out there," said Beckett-Ansa.
That presence changed the momentum quickly toward the Warriors’ side.
"Our guys made a good decision and Richard showed a lot of composure on the counter attack. I would be surprised if it wasn't deflating [for Fluvanna]. I don't mean that as an insult, but that was definitely a boost for us right before the half," said Western coach Paul Rittenhouse.
Fluco head coach Patrick Dieter felt the shift too.
"That goal changed the momentum,” Dieter said. “That's happened to us a bunch of times this year. We controlled the game, but couldn't finish. I think if we get a goal early, that is a different game."
Western came out strong after the break, building on that late first half goal. The Warriors kept the ball on the attack nearly all of the second half.
A Fluvanna clear attempt in 64th minute lead to a blast from 30 yards out by Western’s Michael Nafziger into the right lower 90. Becket-Ansa put in the third Warrior goal in the 68th minute.
The win caps off a season that started slowly for Western. A midseason surge allowed the Warriors a shot at the regular season title. Western tied the Flucos in the standings during the last week of the season then won a tiebreaker to be top seed in the district tournament.
"It feels great [winning the championship]," said Rittenhouse. "It certainly is rewarding for a lot of the hard work. I don't think we got here in a trivial way. We had to play some really hard games. We had to beat some really good opponents."
These two teams have developed quite the rivalry as of late. Western had beaten Fluvanna every year since Fluvanna started playing soccer up until the last three years. Now Fluvanna has won three straight regular season district titles (taking a share of the regular season crown along with the Warriors) and last year's tournament championship.
Western certainly hasn't fallen, sharing this year's regular season title with the Flucos, taking the tournament championship and winning the season series 2-1-1.
"It feels so good beating Fluvanna. It is the only team I like beating," Beckett-Ansa said.
Now Western Albemarle has a Region II tournament first round bye on Monday. The Warriors play Tuesday in Crozet in the region quarterfinals.
Fluvanna hosts Tuscarora at Monticello High School on Monday. The first round game will start at 6 p.m.