Bodnar gets GW game-winner
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington's Sara Bodnar made the most of her second chance Wednesday evening.
About halfway through the second half, the sophomore scored what she thought was a goal to put the Patriots in front, but it was disallowed because the linesman ruled that she was offside.
Undeterred, Bodnar came through again with time winding down to give GW a 1-0 victory over Princeton in the Class AAA Region 3 final. A crowd of about 400, which were mostly clad in Princeton blue, attended the girls high school soccer matchup of state-ranked teams at Schoenbaum Soccer Stadium in Coonskin Park.
GW (17-4-1), which finished sixth in the final state coaches association rankings, will take on the No. 1 Morgantown-No. 15 Wheeling Park winner at approximately noon Nov. 2 in the state tournament semifinals at Cline Field at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley. The Patriots will find out their opponent today when the AAA regionals are scheduled. The GW-Princeton game was moved to Wednesday because of a scheduling conflict at Schoenbaum.
Bodnar gathered a bounding ball in the penalty-box area and uncorked a shot from in front of the goal that Princeton junior keeper Meredith Putorek had a bead on, but the ball slipped through her gloves and over the goal line with 15:41 left in the game. Putorek recovered enough to knock the ball out of the net, but by that time the damage had already been done.
Bodnar thought she had scored with about 26 minutes to go in the second half off a cross from senior Haley Claudio, but Bodar was ruled offside. Bodnar moved up to forward because sophomore Kasey Rhodes was out with a foot injury.
"I was so excited,'' said Bodnar, who scored her seventh goal and first in a month. "I can't believe it went in. I was mad the first one didn't get in. I thought I was onsides because I ran about 40 yards to get it, but whatever the ref says goes. It gave me more motivation to go on and get the second [goal].''
"That girl has more heart than about anybody I know,'' GW first-year coach Derek Ragle said of Bodnar. "She just keeps working. She may not have the best skills but she's going to work just as hard as anybody out there. Her little motor never stops.''
After Bodnar's goal, No. 4 Princeton (17-2) never made a run at scoring. GW sophomore keeper Olivia Miller made three saves in the first half, including a diving stop.
The Patriots peppered the Tigers' goal but had nothing to show for it until Bodnar's tally late in the second half. GW lost to Princeton 2-0 in the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship game a few weeks ago.
"The girls were hungry,'' said Ragle, who will be going to states for the first time as a head coach. "They wanted to get this win after Princeton knocked us off. I'm happy our girls responded. They just kept working and they didn't fold. I'm proud of them for not quitting.
"Give credit to Princeton, they gave us everything we wanted and then some. I don't think [our players] panicked. I think they just kept playing and they capitalized on a good chance. We finished. They've got a heck of a keeper, but this time we got one past her.''
Putorek finished with nine saves, including several tough saves on the ground.
"It's extremely frustrating, but I don't blame it on the keeper at all,'' Princeton coach Michelle Dye said of the goal. "It's just one of those fluke goals. [George Washington] was lucky and we were unlucky with it.''
GW last advanced to states in 2010, when it made a run to the title game but lost 2-0 to University. The Patriots were ranked No. 1 last year but were upset by Capital in the sectional semifinals.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.