Prep soccer: Winfield girls advance to sectional title game
WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Thursday evening was the coldest of the high school soccer season, but it wasn't enough to cool down defending girls state champion Winfield.
The top-ranked Generals scored a goal in each half to slip past St. Albans, 2-0, in a Class AAA Region 4, Section 1 matchup at Winfield High School.
Winfield (18-1-1) advances to host intra-county rival Hurricane at noon Saturday in the sectional title game. St. Albans, which had entered the contest with three wins in its last four matches, saw its season end at 8-11-2.
The Generals defeated the Red Dragons 5-0 in the regular season, and had beaten Hurricane twice, by scores of 3-1 and 2-1, the latest on penalty kicks.
"The girls played well but we could have been a little more precise about a lot of things," Winfield Coach Marshall Hoff said. "We were a little body on the touches there, but they played us well and they played us hard.
"St. Albans is a good team, with good athletes and at this time of the year you take nothing for granted."
Winfield outshot the Red Dragons 11-0, with SA sophomore keeper Megan Russell collecting eight saves.
The Generals opened the scoring in the first half when Jayne Lawman slipped a shot past Russell with 18:21 remaining in the half.
Winfield ended the evening's offensive highlights with an early second half goal by Katie Bryant. Both goals were unassisted.
"I'm extremely proud of my girls tonight," SA Coach Kim Aurelio said. "We hustled and played hard. They had two goals that could have been stopped but we made common mistakes. But our keeper played phenomenal tonight. She had some tremendous saves and I couldn't ask any more of her tonight.
"Tonight Winfield had to fight for it and I couldn't be more pleased with our effort."
Winfield is four wins away from a second consecutive championship, but Hoff knows that looking that far ahead is not an option for his team, especially with the Redskins next on the slate.
"Now there's 80 minutes between us taking the first step," Hoff said. "We look at it just like that. We set the goal to go after the prize. Everything that happens along the way are things that we don't overly praise or celebrate because we know that this time of year can send good teams home.
"Everybody we'll see from here on out are going to be good teams. There will be some surprises, but it all comes down to discipline and the will to win at this point."
"You've got to be clever and you've got to be consistent in this part of the season, but we're ready and we're looking forward to it."
Contact Michael Dailey at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelDaileyWV.