By Justin Whitaker
The Avon Orioles boys’ soccer team has had a vice grip on the sectional trophy in recent seasons and won’t be giving it back this year.
Avon won its fifth straight sectional championship Saturday morning with a hat trick from reserve Brandon Williams in a decisive 3-0 victory over Mooresville.
“Brandon Williams stepped up big for us with the hat trick to come up off the bench, he did a great job. Obviously, there’s the difference in a 3-0 game.” Avon coach Phil Schmidt said. “We really played hard, unselfish and those are really key to our team.”
Not only have the Orioles won five straight sectionals, they are also sectional winners in nine of the last 11 years.
“We tie stuff back a lot to the history of our program but the last four don’t mean anything to this group,” Schmidt said. “But we accomplished it today so it’s awesome each group gets to experience that for themselves so we are really proud of that.”
Avon’s first goal came 11 minutes into the game when Jeremy Locke found Williams’ head off a corner kick for a 1-0 lead.
Eleven minutes later, Williams connected again as he put a ball past the Pioneer keeper from the left side.
“Brandon is a very skilled player,” Schmidt said. “He’s very fast, works really hard and he’s a very determined athlete. For him to come out and step up in the sectional final is pretty awesome.”
The Orioles led 2-0 at half and limited Mooresville to no shots on goal through the first 40 minutes.
Williams then helped seal the victory with an impressive series of spins and cut through three Pioneer defenders when he got his hat trick with 18:26 remaining in the game.
The junior was hoping for an open teammate on the play.
“First it’s to try and find a teammate and I couldn’t find anyone so I tried cutting it back and no one was at the top of the box so I turned and shot it,” Williams said.
Williams starts on and off for the Orioles as Schmidt has the luxury of great depth on his squad.
“We’ve got a deep team,” he said. “We have more than 11 starters. That’s the bottom line.”
Senior goalie Tyler Beam stopped four Mooresville shots in the second half to preserve the shutout.
“Our backs have done a great job all year so this was a nice shutout,” Schmidt said. “This is a team that scores a lot of goals so to get a shutout is great. Tyler Beam, our senior goalie, stepped up with a couple big saves to preserve the shutout.”