WINFIELD - The more things change the more they stay the same when Morgantown and Winfield square off in girls high school soccer.Morgantown junior Maggie Snively scored with 21:41 left in the game and the Mohigans held off a furious attempt by the host Generals down the stretch as the teams settled for a 1-1 draw Saturday afternoon. A crowd of about 300 attended the matchup of Class AAA unbeaten state-ranked squads.The two teams played to a scoreless tie in regulation during last year's state championship game before Mazie Cheesebrough tallied on the last round of penalty kicks to give the Mohigans their first title. Winfield played Morgantown to a 3-3 draw during the regular season last year.Third-ranked Winfield (8-0-1) certainly wasn't content about Saturday's draw with top-ranked Morgantown (11-0-1), but the Generals were happy nonetheless of the progress they're seeing. Winfield only lost two starters from last year's team, but they were the team's leading scorer and an all-state defender.
"It was devastating last year,'' the Generals' Emily Cole said of falling to the Mohigans in the state finals. "All of us came in ready for this because of last year, and it was a good game. There are several things we need to work on, minor things that can easily be adjusted."They'll come. Just communication. Simple passes and not just drilling it past the defense. That's a sign of when you're getting tired. We're doing really well with so many freshmen. They're amazing. That's all you can ask for from new players. Every little piece of the puzzle helps.''Lawman gave Winfield a 1-0 lead with 19:48 left in the opening half on an unassisted goal, her team-high 13th of the year. She sent a bullet from about 20 yards out that Morgantown keeper Erika Yohn momentarily handled, but the ball squirted through her arms and into the net.Snively's equalizer came with a price. She took a pass about 30 yards away, dribbled into the penalty box and unleashed a shot before colliding with Generals keeper Faith Burchet, leaving Snively with bruised ribs. Burchet turned in two saves.Winfield dominated most of the second half, taking several shots that either went over the goal or just wide, including a shot by Lawman on an open net after she dribbled past Yohn, who finished with two saves.
"We had a lot of opportunities that we just need to work on finishing next time,'' said Lawman. "It was really frustrating, especially whenever you have an open goal and just miss it.''Winfield coach Marshall Hoff said it was good to face Morgantown again."We knew they were going to be good, no doubt about that,'' he said. "We were prepared. "We're looking forward to possibly seeing them again."We have to polish a few little things. We're not where we need to be yet, but we will be. Tactically, we'll find a way to get better. A lot of good chemistry and the work ethic is second to none.''Morgantown coach Ashley Neal said the tie was instructive for her players."This was the best team we have faced all year,'' she said of Winfield. "This is the first time we've ever been down in a game this season. We learned a lot about our character. I was proud of my girls the way they responded. It's just a battle. It's good for [our players].''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com