WINFIELD, W.Va. - For 67 minutes Tuesday's clash between two of Class AAA girls soccer's heavyweights - Winfield and George Washington - appeared headed toward a scoreless draw.
It was in the final 13 minutes, however, that the Generals showed why they are the defending state champions. Winfield scored three times during that span to earn a 3-0 win against the Patriots.
The Generals (6-0-0) outplayed GW (3-0-1) for most of the first half, outshooting the Patriots 5-1 and dominating possession. Generals coach Marshall Hoff said his team initially was out of sorts but calmed down and started making the right decisions on the pitch.
"We were out of our game style a little bit at the beginning and got to banging the ball," he said. "That's a good team so you get excited and get a little bit riding on your mind."
GW, last season's state runner-up to Winfield, appeared to take control of the momentum early in the second half, with multiple chances that ended either one pass short or with a shot wide of the goal.
When GW's attempts to break the tie failed, Winfield's fitness level came into play late as the Generals seemed to have something left in the tank when the Patriot players were showing signs of fatigue. On Winfield's first goal the Generals worked the ball down the left side and played a cross into the goal area. GW goalkeeper Olivia Miller deflected the ball but it bounced to Winfield senior Josee Erlandson, who finished with a soft touch to open the scoring.
"We settled a little bit (early in the game) and conditioning always plays a factor," Hoff said. "Conditioned players are going to make good decisions. We knew we needed to get the ball on the ground and needed to get back into our game style. Once we did some doors started opening."
Less than a minute later GW defender Kasey Ellis was called for a handball in the penalty area, leading to a Jayne Lawman penalty kick that beat Miller to give Winfield a 2-0 advantage. Sophomore MacKenzie Pritt closed the scoring with 1:51 to play with an assist from an Erlandson shot the deflected off the crossbar.