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Boys soccer: Taylor breaks out for Generals

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Winfield forward Preston Sheldon was a scoring machine last season, tallying 19 goals, fourth best in the area.

Sheldon's emergence offensively propelled the Generals to a 13-6-2 record and top 10 ranking after a mediocre 8-9-3 record in 2010.

Expectations were much higher for Winfield coming into this season after Sheldon exploded onto the scene, but along with that came a much bigger bullseye from the opposition on the senior offensive playmaker.

With the fact that no other Winfield player scored double-digit goals last year, one would figure someone else would need to step up this season if the Generals were to maintain the momentum of their turnaround.

Enter sophomore Steven Taylor.

Just like Sheldon did last year, Taylor has emerged seemingly out of nowhere to provide Winfield a solid one-two punch, thus giving opponents much more to think about.

The pair was on full display in Winfield's biggest win of the season Thursday as Taylor scored two goals and Sheldon added one in the Generals' dominant 4-0 home victory over the defending Class AAA state champion George Washington (4-2-1).

"This is probably the first time we have beat GW since '07 or '08," Winfield Coach Mike Foster said. "It's a huge win for us. GW always has a fine club and are well-coached."

Class AAA No. 5 Winfield improves to 6-1, while No. 8 GW drops to 4-2-1 on the season.

The Generals' only loss came Tuesday night, when they dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 1 Hurricane.

Taylor has been instrumental in the rise of the Winfield program. After only scoring one goal his freshman year, he has made a huge jump into as a sophomore, tallying a team-high eight goals.

He is also tied for the lead in assists with Sheldon with seven.

"We gave Steven some things to work on and he worked real hard on them," Foster said.

"He came in and showed us he wanted to be the man. He got to start up front. He got to see the speed of the game as a freshman. It showed him what he had to do. I'm really proud of him."

"Steven has done a tremendous job," Sheldon said. "He has been excellent and is always there when I need him to step up with me. Steven gives us a one-two punch. He's an amazing athlete and I can't wait to see him progress throughout his career."

Taylor is pleased he has become a bigger contributor.

"Eight goals is way better than one," Taylor said.

"You can't win games with one person. You have to have a team, and we have a very good team. I couldn't do it without Preston and the rest of my teammates."

While Taylor's rise has taken some of the pressure off Sheldon offensively, it has also allowed Sheldon to become a dual threat with six goals and seven assists.

Sheldon's all-around game has impressed Foster.

"Preston is playing the best forward he has ever played," Foster said. "He is totally unselfish with the ball. He is a team player. I'm very proud of his play this year. As long as we win, it doesn't matter to him if he scores two goals or a 100. I'm tickled to death for him."


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