Western Albemarle boys soccer’s Joey Paulson has been itching for a breakthrough and he finally got it with a beautiful insurance goal late in the Warriors’ 3-0 victory over Waynesboro in the Class 3, Region C quarterfinals.
“He finishes really well in practice and then you come into games and sometimes it’s like a monkey on his back,” said Western coach Milo Oakland. “That header was a great way to get it off.”
Alex Moreno set Paulson up with a great cross and Paulson connected for a header goal and a 3-0 lead with 21:45 to play. It gave the top-seeded Warriors some breathing room and helped assure that Western would advance to the semifinals, one win away from a state tournament berth.
Western owned possession throughout with the defense and midfield connected and holding throughout. But it took awhile for the Western to get the scoring going.
“I said at halftime that we dominated two third of the field in the first half but it’s not good enough,” Oakland said. “In the attacking third we weren’t finishing well, we weren’t completing our runs so we made some adjustments at halftime and it allowed us to create better opportunities closer to goal.”
Moreno gave the Warriors a single goal in the first half with what became the gamewinner with 18:36 left to play in the first half. Freshman Jack Vigilante set up Moreno with a well-placed through ball. Western didn’t manage to score again until a Wilson Brown strike with 25:33 to play in the second half extended the lead to 2-0. Just four minutes later, Paulson was finishing with the header.
“It was one of those games that was sort of relentless and I think over time we wore them down,” Oakland said.
Western squares off with No. 5-seeded Liberty-Bedford Tuesday night after Liberty beat Turner Ashby 2-0 in the semifinals. Fluvanna County and Spotswood will duel it out in the other semifinal.