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Prep boys soccer: Senior-dominated Patriots roll against Spring Valley

Bob Wojcieszak
George Washington's Noah Miller manages to get inside position on Spring Valley's Tyler Smith during soccer action Monday evening at Coonskin Park. Bob Wojcieszak/Daily Mail
Bob Wojcieszak George Washington's Logan O'Hara sets off towards the goal with Spring Valley's Levi Master (9) and Jacob Thomas (29) in pursuit during soccer action at Coonskin Park in Charleston Monday evening. Bob Wojcieszak/Daily Mail
Bob Wojcieszak George Washington's Noah Miller manages to get a his head on the ball as Spring Valley keeper Sam Hedrick (33) tries to break up the scoring attempt during their match at Coonskin Park Monday.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington boys soccer Coach Tom Hopper finds himself in a situation most coaches would dream of.

The Patriots return nine starters from last year's team that lost in the regional semifinal to Parkersburg South. Also, of the 11 players on the pitch, GW has 10 seniors starting.

The Patriots showed off their depth on Monday in a 4-0 victory over Spring Valley at Coonskin Park's Schoenbaum Stadium in front of a crowd of about 75 fans.

"It could be a coach's dream, or it could be a coach's nightmare," Hopper said. "We have never had a team with this many seniors. The challenge is going to be getting some of the underclassmen in, and get some experience for them."

Of the four goals against the Timberwolves, three players scored for GW. In upping their record to 2-0, the Patriots have tallied six goals with five kids finding the back of the net.

Hopper knows he has a lot of different weapons at his disposal, and the fact that they have been playing soccer together since they were 5 years old makes the Patriots even more dangerous.

"You saw how well they move the ball and how they relate to each other," Hopper said. " That makes the weapons even more powerful. They know how to make things happen and sometimes I think they can read each other's minds."

The nine senior starters include goalkeeper Garrett Phillips and position players Daniel Glines, Connor Boyd, Mark Dundervill, Drew Davis, Peter Nelson, Bailey Johnson, Noah Miller and Andrew Wells. Senior Logan O'Hara also joined the starting lineup this season.

The Patriots have 15 seniors on their varsity roster of 22, including Clay Thomas, Graham Plantz, Joey Aluise, Caleb McDaniel, and Watts Shumate.

Wells opened the scoring for GW, delivering a strike from about 30 yards with 32:22 remaining in the first half to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead.

A little more than 8 minutes later, GW struck again, this time, on a goal from Jeff Hodge with 24:03 left in the half. One of the rare juniors on the team, Hodge is a backup goalkeeper, showing the Patriots' depth.

In the second half, GW got its third goal from its third different scorer as senior Drew Davis deposited a goal into the back of the Spring Valley net off an assist from senior Noah Miller with 32:28 left in the game.

Davis scored again for the Patriots, adding the fourth and final goal for GW with 6:22 remaining.

With so many seniors on the team that advanced the regionals last season, the Patriots are thinking big.

"We have high expectations and they have the potential to do good things," Hopper said. "I would hope so but you never know. We know we have a good group of kids. We are trying to keep their heads in it."

The players, themselves, have been looking forward to their senior season for many years.

"This is what we have been working for our whole four years at GW," Davis said. "Our goal is to get a state championship. It's a long time coming. We have really good chemistry and we are looking forward to the rest of the season."



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