Girls soccer: Generals, Patriots will have hands full
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Winfield and George Washington girls soccer teams have plenty of motivation going into today's Secondary School Activities Commission State High School Soccer Tournament.
The sixth-ranked Patriots (17-4-1) have made more State Tournament appearances (9) than any other team that has not won a title.
The third-ranked Generals will be making their eighth appearance and won the first three with the last being 15 years ago. The last two years they have come heartbreakingly close.
Winfield (18-1-2) lost on a goal with 17 seconds remaining in the 2010 semifinals and then fell in a shootout in the 2011 final.
The Generals face second-ranked Buckhannon-Upshur (22-1-0) at 10 a.m. today at Coonskin Park's Schoenbaum Stadium.
"They are a real attacking team," Winfield Coach Marshall Hoff said. "We got to see them early on and they are very well coached."
The Buccaneers have outscored opponents 138-12 this season and lead the state with an average of six per game.
Emily Godwin leads them with 32 goals and 30 assists, Brooklyn Waddell with 31 goals and 18 assists, and Hannah Stankus who has 31 goals and 14 assists.
Godwin and Waddell are among 11 seniors who have fashioned a 71-11-3 record over their prep careers.
Freshman Taylor Starkey contributed 14 goals and 12 assists while keeper Kelsey Hinzman has recorded 15 shutouts so far.
Buckhannon-Upshur is coached by veteran Tom Hasbrouck, who started the boys program at the school in 1985 and coached it through 2008. His teams won three state championships along the way.
Hasbrouck has been head coach of the girls team for the past eight seasons.
"He's a Hall of Famer as far as high school coaches," Hoff said. "You attach some talent to that and you have a force to be reckoned with."
This will be the Bucs first trip to the State Tournament since they lost in the final in 1995.
They are on a 21-game winning streak after losing 3-1 to Morgantown in the second game of the season.
Winfield is led by senior Emily Cole with 30 goals and sophomore Jayne Lawman with 28 goals and 12 assists. Freshman Katie Bryant has contributed 12 goals and 11 assists.
Senior keeper Faith Burchett has 13 shutouts.
The Generals hold a 100-15 scoring advantage of their opponents this season.
"With us the key is taking control of the tempo," Hoff said. "Possession is the biggest thing."
Before the George Washington coaches and players can worry about facing Winfield or Buckhannon-Upshur the Patriots must get by top ranked Morgantown (22-0-1).
The Mohigans have allowed the fewest goals in the state as they have given up an average of 0.15 per outing.
"If you are going to win the state championship you have to beat the best," first-year George Washington Coach Derek Ragle said. "If we don't think we can win we shouldn't go play."
Make no mistake, the Patriots do plan to go play.
Morgantown won the regular season meeting 3-0 on October 13.
"What we need to do is protect the ball a little better," Ragle said. "If we can possess the ball better and move the ball better as a unit we will do better than the last time we played them."
With just 69 goals on the season the Patriots are by far the lowest scoring team in the Class AAA girls field.
They also are solid in goal with keeper Olivia Miller, who has 12 shutouts and hasn't surrendered a goal this preseason.
"We only allow about 0.7 goals per game with her in the lineup," Ragle said.
"She missed three or four games."
Senior Charlie Lucente leads the scoring with 13 goals while junior Taylor Ellis has 12 and senior Stephanie Kelley nine.
Sophomore Sara Bodnar has seven, including the game winner over Princeton in the regional final.
Led by keeper Erika Yohn the defending champion Mohigans have recorded 20 shutouts this season and allowed just three goals.