Daniel Glines, who scored GW's only goal, looks for a lane to pass to Garrett Warner (25).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The boys are back in town.
Junior Daniel Glines scored a goal early in the second half and junior keeper Garrett Phillips and the defense made it stand up as the defending state champion Patriots advanced to the state tournament with a 1-0 victory Wednesday over Woodrow Wilson in the Class AAA Region 3 final. A vocal crowd of about 500 attended the matchup of state-ranked boys high school soccer teams at Schoenbaum Soccer Stadium at Coonskin Park.
The Patriots (16-5-2), who were fifth in the final state coaches association rankings, will take on the No. 2 Parkersburg-No. 11 University winner at approximately 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at Cline Field in the state tournament semifinals at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley. GW will find out its opponent today when the AAA regionals are scheduled. The GW-Woodrow game was moved to Wednesday because of a scheduling conflict at Schoenbaum.
After a scoreless opening half, GW senior Garrett Warner centered a ball to Glines, who shot from the left of the top of the penalty-box area to the far right post for a 1-0 lead three minutes into the second half.
"My teammate played [the ball] across, it was a great ball, and I just happened to be at the right spot at the right time,'' said Glines. "It feels good, but I couldn't have done it without them.''
The Patriots put two more shots on goal in the second half but came up empty. No. 20 Woodrow (9-8-4) put on a furious rally in the last 10 minutes, but Phillips turned aside three shots to preserve the win.
"We took it to them for a while,'' said GW coach Tom Hopper, who guided the Patriots to a state title in 2007. "We should've had a couple of scores that just didn't go in. We persevered and got the goal. They came at us pretty hard the last 10 or 12 minutes and had us on our heels.''
Close, nail-biting finishes have been GW's motus operandi the last few weeks. The Patriots defeated No. 7 South Charleston 1-0 in the second round of penalty kicks last weekend to advance out of sectional play. GW, who replaced seven starters from last season, has only scored four goals in its last three games, but it keeps finding a way stay alive.
"We're just pushing as hard as we can every game,'' Glines said. "We have a lot of heart. We all just want to work as hard as we can every day at practice. We just focus on the moment. We always feel like we're going to win the next game.''
Senior Casey Young made four stops Wednesday for the Flying Eagles, who lost to GW 2-0 during the regular season.
"It was a pretty defensive game,'' said Woodrow coach Rocky Powell. "It was going to take a mistake on one of those parts to win the game and we were the one that made the mistake. They came out in the first half and really went after us.
"We kind of neutralized that a little bit and got into a rhythm with them and played with them. We knew the first 20 minutes of the second half would be crucial. I thought our guys played well after [the goal], but we just couldn't get any offense generated.''
Powell said he is encouraged with the Flying Eagles, who showed improvement down the stretch.
"Our record really doesn't display the growth that we had,'' said the Woodrow coach. "These guys did a good job. We had a lot of guys hurt at the beginning of the season. One guy would come back and we'd lose two guys. I feel good about next year. A lot of young guys got a lot of good playing time.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.