Because of a wet field, Dexter moved its SEC White Division championship game against Chelsea on Thursday to a night game at Al Ritt Stadium. And the Dreadnaughts proved they deserved the spotlight.
Dexter defeated rival Chelsea, 1-0, in Dexter to take home the SEC White Division championship. The only goal of the game came from Nick Williamson, who scored with just under 36 minutes remaining in the second half. The Dreadnaughts improved to 12-1-6 on the season and get there first win over the Bulldogs this year after tying in both of their regular-season matchups.
The game got started with Chelsea’s possession, but Dexter was the more aggressive team all night long. Dexter’s first scoring attempt came just over 1 minute into the game and junior Hayden Newton continued putting pressure on the defense with his first shot of the game at the 36:45 mark. Although neither shot went in, it was clear that the Dreadnaughts wanted to pile up as many scoring opportunities as possible.
“We created a lot,” said Dexter head coach Drew Ducker. “It was super physical, in terms of the game. It was all about staying composed and playing better. I thought we did those things tonight but I thought we could have had a couple other chances on goal but that’s just how the game goes.”
Dexter’s Braden Lint called the moment “amazing.”
“It was amazing after tying them twice,” said Lint. “This time we played them strong until the end and they didn’t get a score. From the goal forward, it was really chaotic but we were as calm as we could be. I thought we did good. It feels amazing. We were calm and compact.”
Chelsea’s first scoring chance of the game came 4 minutes later when Christopher White got loose on a breakaway. The Dexter defense did a good job to push him to the outside, though, and his shot was wide right. With just over 10 minutes left in the first half, Newton got another good look but this time his shot went wide left. Dexter and Chelsea went into halftime tied at zero, but the Dreadnaughts held an 8-3 advantage in total shots.
At the beginning of the second half, Dexter came out with more energy than the Bulldogs and it resulted in a foul just outside the penalty box, giving the Dreadnaughts a free kick in the middle of the field. Noah Lewis tapped the ball with his right foot just before Williamson came in and booted the ball into the back of the net. Dexter grabbed a 1-0 lead with 35:39 left in the game.
With that said, they weren’t content with just one goal as the team kept pushing the ball forward.
Dexter took three corners in less than 2 minutes and one of them allowed a shot-on-goal from Lint, but Chelsea was able to keep the deficit to just one goal. Jacob Schultz had a nice pass with 23 minutes left to get the Bulldogs a shot on goal but they couldn’t get it past goalkeeper Wiley Smith. Chelsea’s final opportunity came with about 8 minutes left in the game as they lined up for a free kick on their side of the field, which sailed over the top of the net.
Dexter played keep-away for the final minutes of the match and as the buzzer sounded, the Dreadnaughts took home the SEC White crown, defeating their rivals 1-0. Dexter finished the game with 15 shots and seven corners while Chelsea managed only five shots. Newton was scoreless for the Dreadnaughts but he had five shots, including three on goal. Williamson, who missed the previous two games versus Chelsea, finished with the only goal of the night.
“Obviously, we had a nice set piece between Lewis and Williamson,” said Ducker. “In general, our second halves have been good. We scored the only goal, so you can only complain so much, but we’d like to be able to finish more because that will be the difference going forward.
“It’s a big rivalry. Being in my second year, all I hear is ‘the Chelsea game.’ It’s nice to feel that rivalry with them as well. To get the win tonight in the SEC conference with a lot of seniors who did a great job to get a win for us.”
Dexter will now prepare for Districts beginning next week.
PHOTOS BY DAN ROBELEN