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George Washington’s Caleb Carney (22) defends against Parkersburg’s Landon Shedd (9) in the Patriots’ 6-1 win in the MSAC championship game Thursday night at GW.

George Washington’s boys soccer team got off to a slow start but eventually turned up the heat to defeat Parkersburg 6-1 at home on Thursday to win the Mountain State Athletic Conference title.

“Getting to conference championship is a goal we usually have during the year,” GW coach Erik Engle said. “Yeah it doesn’t affect seedings, it doesn’t affect anything, but when you’re in a conference as strong as the MSAC — over the last decade and a half, MSAC [teams] won almost all state championships — you want to have a good showing.”

Nick Ihnat scored three goals and Sam Clark, Brady Stafford and Caleb Carney each scored one for the Patriots. Carney had two assists and Connor Stricklen and Rylan Morehead each had one.

The No. 1-seeded Patriots (13-1-1, 9-1-0 MSAC) scored the first goal of the game early in the first half as Ihnat found the back of the net. The No. 2-seedd Big Reds (12-2-2, 6-2-2) didn’t take long to respond as Tristan Brogen scored the equalizer about 10 minutes later.

The game went to halftime tied at 1.

In the second half, George Washington’s offense woke up. Ihnat scored to give the Patriots a 2-1 lead and Carney drew a penalty kick, which Ihnat took and converted to a goal to make the score 3-1 Patriots.

Clark then scored off a corner kick. Carney and Stafford subsequently scored a goal each to make the score 6-1.

GW and Parkersburg played to a 3-3 draw on Sept. 25 at Parkersburg and Engle and his team did things differently in Thursday’s matchup.

“We were disappointed because we had been up 3-1 and we let them back in the game,” Engle said. “We felt it was pretty important we come out when we play at our place and play better.”

Rick Farlow covers sports. He can be reached at 304-348-5122 or Follow @FarlowRick on Twitter.