GW beats Hurricane in OT for MSAC crown
SOUTH CHARLESTON — Emily Lewis couldn’t say which part of her body connected with the ball during Thursday’s Mountain State Athletic Conference girls soccer title match. In the frenzy of the moment that secured George Washington High’s 1-0 overtime win over Hurricane, that fact became lost.
“I think it was my face,” she said. “I forgot already.”
The important part, that a piece of the forward’s frame connected with the ball as Hurricane goalkeeper Olivia Bird came out for a save attempt, was not lost on anyone at Andrew Jordon Field. The ball dribbled along the pitch and into the net, ending another close, competitive contest between the Patriots (12-3-2) and Redskins (13-2-2).
The teams met earlier this season and battled to a 1-1 tie. The second contest of 2018 between GW and Hurricane was similar, going scoreless until about halfway through the overtime period when Lewis found an opening.
“I just saw the ball coming toward me,” she said. “And we’ve been working so hard and wanted to win so bad, I said to myself I was going to put whatever I could on this ball and get it in the goal.”
Such a clash was no surprise for GW coach Ali Sadeghian. He figured the skill of the teams would lead to a tight match, just like it had in early September. He made a couple of adjustments to the Patriots lineup and formation since that first match with Hurricane.
“It helps a little bit to move the ball better and possess the ball,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do, control and keep possession. If we can do that, we can pretty much play anyone in the state.”
Both teams had their opportunities throughout the contest. Hurricane finished with 14 shots, 11 on goal, and GW finished with eight shots and five on goal. Bird had three saves for Hurricane while George Washington keeper Katy Darnell turned away all 11 shots she faced.
Hurricane coach Shelly Young said it’s never fun to lose, but a late-season contest like Thursday’s against a team the caliber of George Washington is a great experience as the Redskins get ready for the postseason.
“We told the girls we were really proud of them,” Young said. “We thought they played better than the first time we played them up here.
“I don’t think you could ask for a better experience of being under pressure and playing a good opponent, playing an overtime golden goal. It sucks to lose, but as far as having that experience and the players leaving it all out of the field, I don’t think you could ask for more.”
If the teams meet again, it would be at the Class AAA state tournament in Beckley. GW resides in Region III and Hurricane is in Region IV. Both sides felt Thursday’s game was a great tune-up for their respective postseason runs, and their hope is that they would see each other again when the stakes are highest.
“It’s always a pleasure and a good game playing them,” Sadeghian said. “They’re very good, skilled and talented. We’re a different style of team, and they always get the best out of us.”
“I said to myself I was going to put whatever I could on this ball and get it in the goal.”
Emily Lewis scored game-winning goal