CHARLESTON, W.VA. - George Washington boys soccer coach Tom Hopper knew his Patriots had a good chance at a memorable season coming into the year.
After all, GW is senior dominated with a class of 15, including 10 of its 11 starters. The Patriots also returned nine starters from last year's team that made it to the State Tournament.
Even with all the talent GW has on its roster, this season has gone even better than Hopper could have realized.
The Patriots are still unbeaten at 22-0-1, and will look to cap of their season in grand fashion with another state title. Most of these same players played on the 2011 state championship team.
GW will get an opportunity to do so when its plays Jefferson (15-2-2) in a semifinal match-up in Beckley Friday, 30 minutes after the first game - between Region 4 champion Winfield and Region 1 champ Parkersburg - that starts at 10 a.m.
"It's been an exceptional season," Hopper said. "You hardly ever get these kinds of seasons. I think the boys really appreciate what they have accomplished. It's been special. We just hope to continue it."
Hopper said he doesn't know much about the Patriots first opponent in Jefferson out of the Eastern Panhandle, but knows his team is in for a battle, especially at this point of the season.
"I know very little," Hopper said. "Obviously, they are talented enough to get to this point. We have to come out and play our kind of soccer and hope they don't play too much of their soccer."
Hopper isn't letting the thought of another possible state title even creep into his head, even with so many seniors and talented players on his team.
"I don't really even want to talk about that," Hopper said. "We just want to focus on the next game. When you get to this stage of the season, everybody is playing their top soccer.
"We hope for the best, but you just never know. Last year we didn't even make it past this game, and it was a big disappointment."
GW was in the same position as last year, when it lost in the semi-finals to Parkersburg, thwarting their attempt at back-to-back state titles.