Riverside's Hannah Leftwich (left) battles with Capital's Elena Pomponio.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Riverside added another first to its surprising season Wednesday while George Washington took care of business like a top-five team should.The No. 19 Warriors scored three goals in the second half en route to a 4-1 victory over Capital in the semifinals of the Class AAA Region 3 Section 1 tournament. A crowd of about 200 attended the matchup at Andrew Jordon Field at Trace Fork.In the second semifinal, Sarah Bodnar tallied three goals as the No. 4 Patriots subdued Ripley 13-0.GW (16-2-2) will face Riverside (11-7-1) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Trace Fork in the championship game with a berth to the regionals on the line. The Patriots routed the Warriors 10-0 in both teams' regular-season opener."We're really excited to be playing GW the next game,'' smiled Riverside senior Maddie McDermitt, who tallied two goals Wednesday for the Warriors. "I think we were just scared of GW and the name of GW scared some of the girls. We're a lot better. We're ready to play them.''"We're playing really well,'' added Bodnar. "Riverside will be a tough team. If we play like we did tonight, play our hardest, we'll hopefully come out with a win. We'll have to play as a team and trust each other.''The Warriors won their first sectional game in school history, adding to their school record for wins in a season.Making the celebration even more special was the fact that senior Kirsten Young, who was a passenger in a recent car accident that claimed the lives of two current and former students, was able to attend Wednesday's game. Young sustained severe injuries, including several broken bones and injuries to her chest, ribs, arms, nose and ankle."This was a phenomenal win,'' said Riverside coach Michele Syner. "Kirsten was here as our good luck charm so we played for her.''
Sophomore Kaitlyn Murphy gave Riverside the lead for good less than a minute into the second half at 2-1 off an assist from junior Kim Massey. Freshman Ashley Hancock added a goal off a setup from senior Erin Hendricks for a 3-1 advantage and McDermitt tallied her second goal, which was unassisted from about 30 yards out, to finish off the victory. Riverside senior keeper Kara Knapp turned in two saves."We just wanted to win,'' McDermitt said. "The seniors got [the team] motivated.''McDermitt gave the Warriors a 1-0 edge early in the opening half on an unassisted goal. Capital answered with sophomore Ally Reeves' goal to knot the game at 1-all, and it stayed that way until after halftime."We didn't come out with any intensity in the second half,'' said Capital coach Riley Gibson, who returns his two top scorers for next year. "[Riverside] took it to us the first 10 minutes. I just stood there in amazement.''GW 13, RIPLEY 0: After the Patriots settled down, they started finding the net with regularity in cruising to the win.
"I think we communicated a lot better and our passing was phenomenal,'' Bodnar said.
Bodnar tallied three goals while Elishia Davis added two and Hannah Ellis, Gabby Abad, Hattie Davis, Kate Eddy, Kasey Rhodes, Gracie Switzer, Emma Hanna and Taylor Ellis pitched in one each. GW goalie Olivia Miller didn't face a shot."Always getting any kind of win just builds confidence,'' said GW first-year coach Megan Johnson, whose team was called offside on several occasions early before getting in synch. "We had problems last game [a 0-0 tie Saturday with No. 2 Morgantown] scoring so this helps. We still got practice out of it, which is good.'''Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.