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High school soccer: Lucente helps No. 4 Patriots hand No. 2 Redskins first loss

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Hurricane and George Washington girls soccer teams entered their matchup Tuesday night as one of the top games of the year in not just the area, but also the state.

The battle of top four teams in Class AAA certainly lived up to the hype.

The two teams combined for four goals in the final 15 minutes, including two ties and two lead changes.

No. 4 GW scored the final two goals of the game, including the equalizing goal with under 3 minutes to play, and the game-winning goal with just over a minute to play to earn a thrilling 3-2 win over No. 2 Hurricane at Schoenbaum Stadium at Coonskin Park.

"I was so happy and excited we came back from being down late," said GW senior Haley Claudio, who assisted on both of the late goals off of set pieces. "It's so fun because a lot of us play travel ball against those girls. They are a great team."

GW (10-1-1) led 1-0 behind a first-half goal from Charlie Lucente and held the lead well into the second half.

Hurricane (13-1-1) then stunned the Patriots, scoring two goals within a minute of each other - first the equalizing goal from Brittany Minor with 14:56 remaining and then a go-ahead goal from Abby Watson with 13:56 left.

The tide had quickly turned on the Patriots and it looked as if the Redskins would remain unbeaten.

George Washington, though, turned the tables on Hurricane, and one-upped the Redskins late in the game, turning an apparent victory to defeat back to victory again.

Still trailing 2-1 and with time running out, GW equalized off of a corner kick with 2:22 remaining as sophomore Kasey Rhodes headed in a beautifully struck corner from Claudio.

Then, less than a minute later, the Patriots connected on another set piece for the game winner, and it was Claudio once again delivering a perfect free kick in the box that Lucente headed into the back of the net with 1:29 left.

"It was crazy," Claudio said. "We definitely know how to work when we need to. It's amazing how we come together when it really counted. We have actually been working on set pieces, especially corners. When it came down to it, everyone knows their role and we finished our chances.

"We have been working on set pieces a lot lately," GW Coach Derek Ragle said. "We spent almost a whole practice working on free kicks. Last week, we put a point of emphasis on corner kicks. To be honest, that's the first corner kick we have scored on all year. The practice paid off."

Both teams are hoping to use the game as extra motivation going forward, but for different reasons.

'They don't like how they feel right now," said Hurricane Coach Shelly Young of her team's first loss of the season. "I think they are going to do whatever they can in practice and games to avoid having this feeling again."

"It's a big win, especially considering we just had a conference meeting and we got no first team all conference players," Ragle said. "We got some honorable mention players so I think I'm doing pretty good with my honorable mention players."

"I told the girls yesterday that their peers did not vote for them for first team all-conference. That's either lack of respect or they don't know what they are doing. I thought the girls came out and used that as motivation, and we will continue to use that all year."


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