Three out of four ain't bad.
The Kanawha Valley sent three teams to the boys and girls Class AAA championship games Tuesday in the state high school soccer tournament.
Sophomore Sara Bodnar scored off a feed from senior Andrea Breeden in overtime as the Patriots upset defending champion and unbeaten Morgantown 2-1 in the girls semifinals at Schoenbaum Soccer Stadium in Coonskin Park. Senior Emily Cole set up Winfield's first goal and scored another as the Generals rolled past Buckhannon-Upshur 3-0 in an earlier semifinal.
On the boys side, Hurricane received goals from four different players to sweep past Hedgesville 4-0 while Parkersburg held on against defending state champion GW 1-0.
GW (18-4-1) will square off with Winfield (19-1-2) at 10 a.m. today, setting up an all-Kanawha Valley match in the girls finals at Schoenbaum. The Generals easily handled the Patriots 4-1 during the regular season. This will be the first time two teams from the Valley will clash in the finals since the girls tournament began in 1995.
For the boys, undefeated Hurricane (22-0-1) will take on Parkersburg (17-3-2) in the title game at approximately 12:15 p.m. today at Schoenbaum in a battle of the top two teams in AAA in the final state coaches association rankings. The Redskins and Big Reds played to a 1-1 draw in the regular-season finale.
The SSAC postponed the state tournament last week, then moved it to Charleston 16 inches of snow fell on Beckley, where the tourney was scheduled to be held. Teams hadn't played since regionals Oct. 23-25.
The No. 6 Patriots girls advanced to the finals for the third time but are still seeking their first title after losses in 1999 and 2010. Winfield is looking for its first championship since winning the first three girls crowns from 1995-97.
GW defeated Capital in the sectional finals a year after the Cougars upset the No. 1 Patriots, then downed Princeton in the regionals after falling to the Tigers in the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship game. The Patriots lost to Morgantown 3-0 with several starters out with injuries to close out the regular season.
"After losing to [Morgantown], we were hungry,'' said Bodnar, who netted the only goal in the victory over Princeton in regionals. "Everyone doubted us coming into the tournament. We proved them wrong.''
The No. 3 Winfield girls has lost heartbreakers the last two years at states, falling 1-0 in a penalty-kick shootout to Morgantown in last year's championship game and losing 1-0 to eventual state titlist University two years ago in the semis on a last-second goal. The Generals finally broke through in overtime, though, beating Huntington 1-0 in the regionals.
"From Aug. 1, we've been working really hard,'' said Cole. "We've done everything to prepare ourselves for this. Everyone keeps saying the third time is the charm and you just have to believe it. We've gone farther and farther every year. I think this is it. This is our chance.''
In the boys division, No. 1 Hurricane has advanced to states for the fourth time in the last six years, losing to GW 1-0 in the title game in 2007, falling to Wheeling Park 2-1 on penalty kicks in the semis in 2010 and lost 1-0 to eventual state titlist GW in last year's semis.
"They've had a remarkable three years, losing two regular-season games,'' said Hurricane coach Jim Dagostine of his seniors. "All year they've been interesting to coach and they've brought a lot of joy and excitement to our community and school.''
No. 2 Parkersburg will be playing in its nine championship with six titles but none since the last of back-to-back titles in 2009. The Big Reds, though, haven't won a final outside of Beckley.
A capsule look at Tuesday's semifinals:
"I knew if I put it on Sarah's foot, she'd be there and have a good shot,'' Breeden said. "I trust her.''
The No. 1 Mohigans didn't mount much of a counterattack the rest of the way. Morgantown (22-1-1) had several chances before Bodnar's tally, but was turned aside each time by GW sophomore keeper Olivia Miller, who finished with 11 saves and had several diving stops.
"We came in being the underdogs and that's our element,'' said Miller, who sat out the first meeting with Morgantown with an injury. "I held my breath the whole time. We want it so bad. I'm so proud of my team. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.''
As time expired, the GW bench emptied onto the field as the improbable celebration began. Morgantown, which had been ranked for much of the season in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America national fall rankings, had only allowed three goals all season. Mohigans junior forward Maggie Snively, the team's leading scorer, injured her arm in the first half and did not return.