Winfield's Makenzie Arthur (right) gets tangled up with George Washington's Haley Claudio.
There was no stopping Winfield's Jayne Lawman or the rest of her teammates Wednesday.The sophomore scored back-to-back goals 65 seconds apart to send the Generals past George Washington 4-2 in overtime of the Class AAA girls high school state soccer tournament championship game. A crowd of about 600 attended the first all-Kanawha Valley final since the girls tournament began in 1995.The two teams were scoreless in the first mandatory 10-minute OT period before Lawman struck like lightning in the second 10-minute extra period.Lawman received a pass at midfield then dribbled into the penalty box and sent a shot past GW sophomore goalie Olivia Miller with 9:20 left. Lawman then gained control of the ball at midfield and dribbled in again for her second goal with 8:15 to go to seal the victory.
"I finally won [the ball] so I was driving and driving,'' said Lawman, who was scoreless until OT.""They were extremely well-placed shots,'' added Miller. "Winfield capitalized on every opportunity they had.''The Patriots didn't get any more scoring opportunities the rest of the way. Miller finished with three saves, including a diving stop in regulation.Freshman M.E. Zulauf and senior Emily Cole each scored goals in the opening half to stake the No. 3 Generals (20-1-2) to a 2-0 lead. No. 6 GW (18-5-1) battled back behind a pair of goals from senior Andrea Breeden to knot the game at 2-all. Breeden, who tallied three goals during the state tournament, missed several weeks with an injury during the regular season.
"We kind of got lax,'' said Cole. "You want it so badly. We worked so hard we knew we could do it. We could have done two more overtimes and still played with the same intensity. We were ready.''Winfield captured its first title since winning the first three from 1995-97. It was Winfield's second OT game of the postseason, following a 1-0 win over Huntington on Lawman's goal in the first five-minute sudden-death period.Winfield has had crushing defeats the past two years at states, losing 1-0 in a penalty-kick shootout to Morgantown in last year's title game and falling 1-0 to eventual state champion University two years ago in the semis on a last-second goal."It's been a long road,'' said Winfield senior keeper Faith Burchett, who finished with four saves. "We definitely deserve this. I'm proud of every single girl, all 31 of our teammates. I'm really glad that I can say my team is the best team in the state now.''"We set a goal almost a year ago to get back here and finish it,'' added Winfield coach Marshall Hoff. "It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of drive. It takes a special bunch to do that. You can't do it without the discipline and the days that seemed like would never end.''GW upset defending state champion and No. 1 Morgantown 2-1 in OT during Tuesday's semifinals. The Patriots are still seeking their first championship in spite of nine trips to states. It was their third runner-up finish to go with losses in 1999 and 2010."I'm very proud of our girls,'' said GW first-year coach Derek Ragle. "They could have just quit. They responded to the challenge.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.