EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Saturday marked the third time the Williamston girls soccer team has reached the state title game. The previous two came in 2008 and 2010, and both resulted in losses to Hudsonville Unity Christian.
It just so happened that on Saturday, the Hornets and Crusaders met once again for a state title.
This time around, Williamston wouldn’t be denied on its way to the Division 3 state championship. The Hornets defeated Unity Christian 3-2 to win the school’s first-ever soccer state title.
“Absolutely amazing. That’s exactly what I wanted. That’s exactly what my team wanted and that’s what we got,” senior Liz Bellinger said. “We deserve this, this is what we get. It’s absolutely amazing and this game will go down in the history of forever and I’m glad I was able to be a part of it.”
The Hornets fell behind within the first five minutes of the game, but senior Kaley Douglass tied the game at one with a penalty kick goal less than three minutes later.
No one scored the rest of the first half and Unity Christian retook the lead in the second half with a goal in the 59th minute. But Bellinger provided the spark Williamston was looking for.
With 11 minutes remaining, she took a free-kick from deep and tied the game at two. Then with 1:21 left on the clock, Breyer Fenech scored the go-ahead goal off an assist from Douglass.
“I wanted to kiss her. I love her so much,” Douglass said. “I’m so thankful she was there for it.”
Fenech said, “We wanted this. Our school has never won a state championship in soccer, girls or boys. There are a lot of emotions and it’s surreal.”
All year long, the Hornets have talked about hanging up a banner — not one that says regional champions or state runner-up — one that reads ‘State Champions.’
“Steve (Horn) said it so many times, ‘Hey, we aren’t finished. We got that banner, but you are the ones that get to decide whether it says state finalist or state champions.’ And we knew we wanted it to say state champions.”
“I told them before the game, I absolutely love them,” an emotional Hornets’ coach, Steve Horn, said. “I mean that. They’re my family and they mean a lot to me.”
Williamston now gets to celebrate a state title for the second time in three months. Back in March, the Hornets’ boys basketball team won a state title and set the tone for the ladies on the pitch this year.