AAA soccer: Winfield girls, GW boys win
BECKLEY, W.Va. - Winfield gets a shot at history in the Class AAA girls state tournament while George Washington gets a crack at redemption on the boys side.
Freshman Mary Lawman scored twice to send the defending state champion Generals past Morgantown in a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2 Friday night in the girls semifinals at Cline Field at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley.
Drew Davis scored a goal two minutes into the opening half and the George Washington defense made it stand up for a 1-0 victory Friday afternoon over No. 10 Jefferson in the boys semis.
"It was a dogfight, man,'' said GW veteran coach Tom Hopper. "It certainly was a very, very difficult game. We had very, very few opportunities and they had even less. I think we just took advantage of the situations.''
In the other boys semifinal, Evan Rhodes' two goals led Parkersburg past Winfield 2-1.
GW (22-0-2), which finished the season No. 1 in the state coaches association rankings and is the only unbeaten team left in AAA, will square off with No. 5 Parkersburg (19-1-3) at 10:30 a.m. today at Cline Field in the title game.
The Big Reds shaded the Patriots 1-0 in last year's semifinals then lost to Hurricane in the championship match. Parkersburg has won six titles, the last in 2009, while GW has take two championships in the last six years (2007 and 2011). The Patriots downed the Big Reds twice this season by 2-1 scores each time.
Top-ranked Winfield (22-1-1) will take on the No. 4 George Washington-No. 12 Washington winner at approximately 12:45 p.m. today in the AAA girls title matchup. GW and Washington were still playing at press time.
Winfield is chasing its fifth state title and is tied at four championships with Wheeling Park, which captured four straight from 1998-2001 during the one-class system. The state tournament was divided into two classes in 2008. Winfield won the first three titles from 1995-1997.
Parkersburg was coached by assistant Don Fosselman Jr., head coach Don Fosselman Sr.'s son, Friday. Fosselman Jr., who now owns a 2-0 record with regional and state semifinal victories this year, filled in for his father, who received two yellow cards in the sectional final and had to sit out the previous two games. Fosselman Sr. will be back for today's championship.
"Coach did a great job getting these guys ready,'' said Fosselman Jr. "He made my job easy. I really feel like our defense was what got us the victory.''
Winfield was making its state tourney debut in AAA boys and had only advanced to regional play once (2004). The Generals overcame injuries to several key players throughout the year, ending the regular season with a losing record, and playing with its starting lineup only four times.
Here's a capsule look at Friday's games:
"I didn't think I was going to get [the foul call], but [the referee] called it,'' said Davis, who has a team-high 16 goals. "I looked up and the upper 90 was open. I just gave it all I had.''
GW's defense stymied the Cougars, who were making their first appearance at states since 2007, the rest of the way. Patriots keeper Garrett Phillips didn't have to stop a shot the whole game.
"We're strong on the defensive side because we communicate a lot,'' said Phillips, who has spearheaded a defense that has surrendered just nine goals all year and had an 11-game shutout streak during the season. "We have a strong connection back there.''
Rhodes tracked down a ball and broke away for the goal. Jesse Richmond put Winfield in front 1-0, converting a penalty kick in the 60th minute. Rhodes, though, knotted it at 1-1 on a header off an assist from Tyler Bro after a spot foul.
"A lot of our strategies had to change,'' said Winfield's Keegan Patrick of the trying season. "We had to learn how to possess and keep the ball on the deck and play around defenders rather than run over them. We learned our strengths and weaknesses and overcome a lot.''
She took a pass from sister Jayne Lawman and turned and fired the ball into the upper 90 of the left post. Paige Bannister added another tally off a setup from Kaylee Cross just before halftime as Winfield went up 2-0 at the break.
Sarah Haslebacher closed the deficit to 2-1 for the No. 2 Mohigans when Winfield keeper Braiden Maddox tried to clear a loose ball out of the box and the kick hit off Haslebacher and went into the net.
Mary Lawman gave the Generals some breathing room with a header off a corner kick from Jordan Pauley for a 3-1 advantage. Maddox finished with two saves for Winfield.
Morgantown, which only lost to Linsley, a private Catholic school, edged Winfield 1-0 a few weeks ago.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.