George Washington's Daniel Glines goes high for a header in front of Woodrow Wilson's Justin Johnson.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington faced adversity for the first time Thursday evening and came through with flying colors.Woodrow Wilson scored the first goal against GW this season to take an early lead, but the Patriots stormed back with three straight tallies for a 3-1 victory. A crowd of about 150 attended the Class AAA matchup of state-ranked boys high school soccer teams.GW (12-0), which reclaimed the top spot in the state coaches association rankings Monday, was playing without two starters."I think we came through strong and as a team,'' said Patriots senior Drew Davis, whose goal just before halftime put his team in front for good 2-1.
"We didn't get our heads down. We keep the ball on the ground and kept it simple. We just moved the ball like we know how.''Woodrow junior Zach Johnson did what no team has done this year, get a goal past GW senior all-state keeper Garrett Phillips, although it was more a defensive breakdown for the Patriots. Johnson took a feed in front of the goal from Corey Accord for a 1-0 lead about 31/2 minutes into the opening half.Senior Peter Nelson knotted the game at 1-all for GW on an unassisted goal after gathering in a loose ball in the penalty-box area then putting it past Woodrow goalie Josh Moore, who had come out of the net on the play.Davis struck what proved to be the winning shot on an unassisted goal at the 2:28 mark as the Patriots went ahead for good at 2-1.GW controlled the possession in the second half and senior Daniel Glines scored off a Nelson assist for a comfortable 3-1 advantage. Phillips finished with six saves, including a one-handed diving stop in the second half."Somebody's going to score,'' said GW veteran coach Tom Hopper, whose team lost 1-0 to Parkersburg in last year's state tournament semifinals.
"It's very hard to go through a string like that. We've talked about it. I think [our players] were mentally prepared that some day it would happen. I thought they reacted well. They didn't panic.''Hopper said Thursday was also a good test for GW's bench with two starters missing."I thought the guys we plugged in there stepped it up,'' Hopper said. "We were able to get a lot of guys playing time. You go through a season and hope you get these kids playing time so when you do face adversity it's not difficult for them.''Moore finished with five saves for No. 13 Woodrow (4-5-3)."They place the ball real well and that's what hurt us,'' Flying Eagles coach Rocky Powell said of the Patriots. "They have a lot of speed up front. They got in behind us a few times and capitalized on it.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.