Westminster at Oak Mountain advances to state title game after fast start against Tanner

Published 5:16 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HUNTSVILLE – The Westminster at Oak Mountain Knights are officially back in the place they expect to be every season: the state championship game.

Westminster cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Tanner Rattlers in the Class 1A-3A semifinals at John Hunt Park in Huntsville to seal its place in Friday’s title game.

The Knights struck early to take the lead and never looked back as they used the opening goal of the match to pull away.

In all, Westminster scored three times before halftime to take a 3-0 lead into the halftime huddle and establish itself as the early favorite.

Throughout the match, the Rattlers outshot the Knights as they put 17 shots up to Westminster’s 11, but it was coach Cody Baxter’s side that made the most of those chances with nine of those shots counting as shots on goal versus Tanner’s eight.

Eventually, the Rattlers found the back of the net and scored its first goal of the match, but the Knights matched Tanner’s second-half scoring output and scored for the fourth time that day.

That allowed Westminster to seal the 4-1 win and advance to the state championship game once again.

Charlie Krulak earned himself a brace as he scored two of the Knights’ four goals on the day. Dani Bean and Aiden Gamble joined him on the scoresheet.

In addition, Noah Holmes and Luke Likens each earned an assist for their contributions to Westminster’s goal-scoring plays.

Krulak, Bean and Gamble each had two shots on goal apiece to lead the offense in the category, and they also tied the team-high in total shots with JD Waites after the junior forward had two shots that didn’t end up on target.

Westminster goalkeeper Sam Carter racked up the saves in goal as he ended the match with seven total saves off the eight shots on goal that he faced.

The Knights will return to John Hunt Park on Friday, May 10 at 11:30 a.m. to battle St. Luke’s Episcopal for the Class 1A-3A state championship.