Prep Soccer

Williamsburg boys' soccer opens first state tournament with 2-1 victory over Nevada

Injured junior Zach Litwiller scores game-winner in 49th minute for Raiders (14-3)

Williamsburg’s Matthew Cronquist (5) celebrates the Raiders’ 2-1 win over Nevada in the Class 1A quarterfinal at the boys prep soccer tournament at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines on Thursday, May 31, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Williamsburg’s Matthew Cronquist (5) celebrates the Raiders’ 2-1 win over Nevada in the Class 1A quarterfinal at the boys prep soccer tournament at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines on Thursday, May 31, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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DES MOINES — Deadlocked at 1-1 in the second half, the Williamsburg boys’ soccer team needed a spark.

Zach Litwiller trotted off the bench and provided one.

The hampered junior played just eight minutes, but scored the go-ahead goal in the 49th minute as the second-seeded Raiders defeated Nevada, 2-1, in a Class 1A state quarterfinal Thursday at Cownie Soccer Park.

“I was just hoping that when I ran it didn’t hurt,” Litwiller said. “Then Matt (Cronquist) got a great ball through and I thought I might as well and try and put one in.”

Litwiller dislocated his right kneecap and was unable to finish Saturday’s substate final victory that earned Williamsburg (14-3) its first state tournament appearance in school history. Williamsburg Coach Ruan Sauser hoped to insert Litwiller in the lineup for spot duty if needed.

At halftime, Sauser decided he needed him.

“He told me at halftime that he would try to put me in just to see how it feels,” Litwiller said. “See if I could run on it. It felt pretty good scoring.”

The goal was the 15th this season for Litwiller, which leads the Raiders. Cronquist opened the scoring with a strike less than seven minutes into the game, his 13th score this season.

“We’re just happy to represent and we’re looking to keep moving,” Cronquist said. “We don’t just want to go home.”

Jose Buenrrostro tied the game with a goal in the 29th minute for Nevada (12-8).

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“I thought the guys stuck to the game plan coming in,” Sauser said. “Took advantage of their opportunities. It’s nice to get a first win.”

Williamsburg — winners of six of seven games — will play third-seeded Des Moines Christian (16-1) in a state semifinal Friday at 12:05.

Des Moines Christian boasts three players that have scored more than 20 goals this season, including senior Ben Webster, who leads the state with 57 goals this season.

“Play as a team,” Cronquist said. “Our defense is one solid unit. We’ve got to be focused throughout the game and we’ve just go to keep them away from the goal.”

Boys’ soccer

CLASS 1A STATE QUARTERFINAL

No. 2 Williamsburg 2, No. 7 Nevada 1

Goals — NEV: Jose Buenrrostro 1 (12); WIL: Matt Cronquist 1 (13), Zach Litwiller 1 (15).

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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