WINFIELD - When Winfield coach Marshall Hoff pulled Braiden Maddox from goal and inserted her in the field, she knew she had to make something happen.Maddox scored two goals, including an unassisted tally in the first few minutes after re-entering, that gave the Generals the lead for good as defending state champion Winfield defeated visiting Hurricane 4-2 Saturday afternoon in the Class AAA Region 4 Section 1 title game. A crowd of about 500 attended the matchup of state-ranked teams and Putnam County rivals.Winfield (20-1-1), which finished No. 1 in the final state coaches association rankings, will take on No. 9 Spring Valley at approximately 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Region 4 final at Point Pleasant High School. The winner advances to the state tournament, which will take place Nov. 8-9 in Beckley. The Generals blanked the Timberwolves 4-0 during the regular season.No. 3 Hurricane (15-2-3) lost for the third time this year to Winfield, each time after scoring first. The meeting between the two teams in the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship game counted as a tie, but it went to penalty kicks since the conference had to declare a champion.Sophomore Anna Dyer gave Hurricane a 1-0 lead Saturday off an assist from junior Audrey Barber in the 15th minute. Barber sent a corner kick to the left post and Dyer elevated high in the air to get her head on the ball and send it into the upper-right corner of the net.Jordan Pauley knotted the game at 1-all for Winfield in the 33rd minute. After receiving a pass, Pauley took a couple of dribbles then blasted the ball into the lower left corner from about 20 yards away.Maddox, who moved from the field to goalie this year for the first time in her high school career, was still seething over the goal she allowed in the first half when she took the field after the break."I was standing back there whenever [Hurricane] scored on me and I thought to myself, 'This cannot be my last game,''' Maddox said. "I said, 'This is not my last game.' And whenever I was going to go in the field I was going to make a difference.''
A shot deflected off Hurricane junior keeper Hannah Thompson and Maddox was there at the left post to put it away for a 2-1 edge in the 58th minute."Going to play in the field at that moment in time was just awesome,'' beamed Maddox, who netted her fourth goal. "To be able to help the team ... it's just so awesome.''"Timing is everything,'' said Hoff of his decision to switch goalies. "I had to wait till the point that I knew [our players] would feed off it quick. I found a point where we were holding possession, but not finishing.''The Generals weren't through as Maddox drew a penalty in the box and Jayne Lawman booted in the penalty kick for a 3-1 lead in the 69th minute. Maddox tacked on another score off an assist from freshman Mary Lawman a couple of minutes later.Abby Watson's goal off a Barber setup in the 78th minute closed Hurricane's deficit to 4-2, but it was too late."I think the problem with going up 1-0, that's not at all a safe lead and my girls still take a little breath and the intensity ratchets down a little,'' said Hurricane coach Shelly Young. "That's just something we'll have to fix next season. I hate losing, but I can't fault the way my players played.''Maddox has been injured in Winfield's state tournament appearances the past two years, including last season's title run, and hasn't been able to fully participate in the accomplishment.
"One more step we needed to get to the prize,'' said Maddox of the section championship. "We're going to be working hard. We're not slowing down.''Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.