HURRICANE, W.Va. -- There were no shortage of storylines entering Tuesday's game between Winfield and Hurricane considering it was a clash between two unbeaten teams, untied teams that are No. 1 and No. 2 in the state as well as Putnam County and sectional rivals -- and the game lived up to the hype.
When the final whistle sounded, two second-half goals were the difference as Winfield claimed a 3-1 victory against the host Redskins in a fast-paced, physical contest.
Hurricane (8-1-0), No. 2 in the West Virginia High School Soccer Coaches Association Class AAA rankings, took early control of the contest when Audrey Barber found Abby Watson, who combined speed and strength to beat the Winfield defense off the dribble before putting the ball in the back of the net to give the Redskins a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute of the game.
"(Watson) has been just great. She gets the ball and is able to hold on to it because she's a big, physical player. She creates opportunities not just for herself but for everybody on the team," Hurricane Coach Shellie Young said. "I really like a game where my girls get challenged and that was a challenging game. It's a nice time in the season to have a challenging game because the girls are motivated to make changes."
Winfield (13-0-0) equalized in the 23rd minute when Jayne Lawman played a ball from the right side back into the middle of the penalty area that Katie Bryant put past Hurricane goalkeeper Hannah Thompson.
The goal seemed to settle the un-Winfield like erratic play that plagued the Generals early in the game.
"We needed to come back and battle and find one, equalize it and come into halftime and talk about the things we were giving up here," Winfield Coach Marshall Hoff said. "We got out of sorts a bit. We're a possession team and we started beating it about a bit. We were out of the game and into just chasing it down and we don't want to end up like that."
Both teams had good chances to take the lead but errant shots and saves from Thompson and Winfield's Braiden Maddox kept the score tied at halftime.
The Redskins tested Winfield again early in the second half with pressure and a shot the glanced off the goalpost. The Generals withstood the attack and began to put their own pressure on the Hurricane defense.