Girls State Soccer Tournament: Winfield tops Bucs, faces GW for crown
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Winfield's two second-half goals in Tuesday's Class AAA girls soccer State Tournament semifinals ensured two things:
One, the Generals would return to the championship match, which will be played at 10 a.m. today at Schoenbaum Soccer Complex against George Washington.
Second, there would be no late-game dramatics.
The Generals survived several second-half stabs from Buckhannon-Upshur to win convincingly, 3-0, in Tuesday's first semifinal matchup.
Winfield lost on the last ball of a shootout last season and gave up a game-winning goal with 17.4 seconds left in 2010.
Winfield (19-1-2) won its 10th consecutive game and handed the Bucs (21-2-0) their first shutout of the season.
"They've worked hard since the time we left the field last year to get back here," Winfield Coach Marshall Hoff said. "It's a tough feat."
Freshman Katie Bryant got the Generals on the board with 27:23 left of the first half when she poked it past Buckhannon-Upshur goalkeeper Kelsey Hinzman. Winfield was the aggressor early and came up empty on three corner kicks while keeping Hinzman busy before Bryant finally broke through.
The Bucs, winners of 20 in a row since losing to Class AAA semifinalist Morgantown on Aug. 23, had chances for the equalizer early in the second half.
Brooklyn Waddell, who had 31 goals this season, had a pair of shots turned away in a 36-second span. Emily Godwin, the team's leading scorer with 32 goals, missed an opportunity a minute later.
Cole scored her team-leading 31st goal with 10:15 left to give Winfield breathing room. Jayne Layman added a goal in the waning moments.
Buckhannon-Upshur had practiced outdoors two of the previous 11 days since it won the regional title to clinch a spot in the four-team State Tournament field.
Bucs Coach Tom Hasbrouck noticed his team struggling early.
"I thought we were really tentative the first 25 minutes or so," he said.
"Once (Winfield) scored I thought we started picking it up. We just didn't finish our opportunities, the opportunities we had.
"We scored a hell of a lot of goals this year and this is the first time we've been shut out."
Buckhannon-Upshur had outscored its opponents 129-6 since the early-season loss to Morgantown.
Winfield took its only loss on Sept. 25 at Parkersburg, a 4-3 setback. Since then the Generals have outscored opponents 36-4, which includes a 4-1 win over George Washington, the program's final obstacle to the AAA crown.
Experience - even with a roster heavy on freshmen and sophomores - has Hoff hopeful his team can take the next step.
"It started when these girls were young. They started to work not for just a team, but a program," he said. "For those younger girls coming in, they knew what it would take to be a part of it. They had great leadership.
"They had girls that had experienced those final seconds between us and the championship and I don't think one of them forgot the smells that they smelled when (Morgantown) took the trophies and the plaques."
The Generals had the semifinal heartbreak and last year's nail-biting finish.
"Everyone keeps saying third time's a charm," Cole said. "You just got to believe it. We get farther and farther every year. This is it."
Contact sports editor Chuck McGill at email@example.com or 304-348-7949.