No. 1 Winfield girls on track for repeat
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. - After watching the Winfield boys team pull off a minor upset in the first match of the evening, the Class AAA No. 1 Generals girls squad seemed bound and determined not to let a major upset take place.
Freshman Mary Lawman scored on an assist from Katie Bryant just 1:06 into the second half to break a scoreless tie and the Generals were off and running, tacking on two more goals in a 3-0 win over Spring Valley in the Class AAA Region 4 championship game Tuesday night at Point Pleasant High School.
The win gave the Generals (21-1-1) their fourth consecutive regional championship and appearance in the state tournament.
No. 9 Spring Valley made Winfield earn it, withstanding 11 shots in the first half to keep the Generals off the board.
Winfield coach Marshall Hoff said his team showed a lot of heart in turning the tide in the second half.
"This time of year, that will to win can pull a game off. There's been good teams go home many times," Hoff said. "To be able to grab this plaque for the fourth time . . . we had to realize what was on the line. Nothing is going to be handed to you.
"What an amazing thing. To hold that plaque and understand what it took to get that and coming together for that four times in a row - you better believe it, that's an amazing thing."
Even after Lawman's breakthrough goal, Spring Valley (17-6) hung tough and traded possessions with the defending state champions until a handball call in the box gave the Generals a penalty kick. Jayne Lawman made good on that opportunity with 15:31 left to give Winfield a commanding 2-0 lead.
Jordan Pauley finished the scoring with 3:47 left off a corner kick from Braiden Maddox.
Winfield finished with a 20-3 advantage in shots, and that total could have been higher if not for six offside calls against the Generals.
"We worked hard to find these three goals and you'll work for 80 minutes sometimes to find one," Hoff said.
Spring Valley coach Todd Smith said he was proud of his team's effort.
"We went toe-to-toe with the reigning state champions and possible new state champions," Smith said. "They're a very good team. For our program to get where it is today, we've made some great strides and we're very proud of the girls and what they've done to be able to play with them the way they did. A twist here, a twist there, it could've gone either way."
Winfield will now have the opportunity to defend its state title, which was the first the school had won since winning the first three girls soccer titles ever from 1995-1997.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.