Winfield's Katie Bryant tangles with Huntington's Hannah Woods.
ONA - Winfield's Jayne Lawman finally vented her frustration Thursday evening.Lawman scored a goal with 1:34 left in the first five-minute sudden-death overtime period to send the Generals past Huntington 1-0 and into the state girls soccer tournament. A crowd of about 300 attended the Class AAA Region 4 final at Cabell Midland High School.Winfield (18-1-2), which finished fourth in the final state coaches association rankings, will take on the Washington/Buckhannon-Upshur winner Nov. 2 in the state tournament semifinals at Cline Field at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley. The Generals defeated the No. 14 Highlanders (11-7-4) 9-1 during their regular-season meeting in August.Thursday's win was Winfield's third in a row in regionals over Huntington."It was just really frustrating,'' said Lawman, whose team only managed seven shots on goal because the Highlanders packed nine of their players on Winfield's side of the field the entire game. "The coaches kept encouraging us every time we had to come off the field. You just get aggravated with yourself. We never really gave up.''So many times in the last several years Winfield has lost these types of games. The Generals lost last year in the state championship game 1-0 to Morganton on penalty kicks and 1-0 on a last-second goal two years ago in the semis to eventual state champ University."It feels amazing,'' Lawman said. "We really worked hard to get [to the state tournament] this year. Just like all your hard work has paid off.''After 80 minutes of regulation and a pair of 10-minute mandatory OT periods Thursday against Huntington, Lawman came through for Winfield.Katie Bryant's kick for the Generals deflected off a Huntington defender came right to Lawman about 25 yards out.In one motion Lawman sent a bullet past Huntington keeper Ericka Budd and into the lower right corner of the goal. Lawman was immediately embraced by teammates and then the whole team ran and mobbed her. Budd finished with six saves.
"She was probably the most frustrated one sitting there in the first five minutes,'' said Winfield coach Marshall Hoff of Lawman. "I said, 'Look, you've got to play through it. You've got to find another gear right now.'''Winfield goalie Faith Burchett didn't face a shot and only had to pick up the ball once."We've had that happen quite a few times,'' Hoff said of Huntington packing in its defense."It's a good tactic because you frustrate teams and players and they were getting frustrated. [Huntington coach Paul Farrell] doesn't just do it to pack it. He has talent to go with it. We've faced that team and figured nothing less. We caught them off guard during the season.''Huntington only managed a couple of scoring counterattacks the whole game.
"I'm so proud of them,'' Huntington's Farrell said of his players. "It was a giant task to take on a great team like Winfield. What we decided to do is do what we do best, play a good strong defense and try to catch them on a counterattack and if not take them late to overtime."The ball just didn't bounce our way. It's a long way from the opening game of the season. We've gotten bigger, better and stronger. We're catching up to Winfield, but we're not there yet.''Micahrae Thompson's shot was the only other real threat Winfield had during the game, forcing Huntington keeper Ericka Budd to extend her hands over her head to make the save with about 18 minutes left in regulation. Winfield then was awarded an indirect kick from about 26 yards after a foul on Huntington, but the Generals' Jayne Lawman sent it over the goal.Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.