CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The last time Olivia Miller was in a penalty-kick shootout she was 12 years old, but the results were the same Tuesday night.
Miller made a diving stab for a save in the sudden-death round of penalty kicks, then senior Emma Hanna scored the winning goal as the Patriots downed pesky Woodrow Wilson 1-0 in the Class AAA Region 3 final. A crowd of about 300 attended the matchup of state-ranked teams at Andrew Jordon Field at Trace Fork.
GW (19-2-2), which finished fourth in the final state coaches association rankings, faces No. 12 Washington (15-6-2) in the state tournament semifinals Nov. 8 at the YMCA Youth Soccer Complex in Beckley. Washington upset No. 6 Elkins 1-0 in Region 2. GW fell 4-2 in overtime to Winfield in last year's state title game.
Woodrow freshman Kerrigan Johnson sent a shot toward the left post in the second round of penalty kicks, but Miller made a diving save with her left hand, punching the ball away.
Hanna stepped up and delivered a shot into the upper-left corner of the net for the winning score, then was mobbed by her teammates near the 8-yard mark where the PKs take place. The initial round of PKs begins with five players, and if the game is still tied each team alternates one player until someone misses.
"When we were 12 we had a state tournament that went to about 12 rounds of PKs and we won it,'' smiled Miller, who didn't have to make a save during 80 minutes of regulation and a pair of 10-minute sudden-death periods.
"I was nervous. How could you not be? I wrote Philippians 4:15 on my gloves, my favorite Bible verse. I was thinking that the entire time, each shot that I faced that was all I thought about. Usually I'm not good toward my left side, but I went for it and the stars aligned. I'm so excited.''
Sophomore Kaylee Hilliard gave Woodrow a 3-2 lead in the first round of penalty kicks, but GW senior Taylor Ellis answered with a shot into the upper-right corner of the net for a 3-3 tie.
Miller made a diving stop to her right on Flying Eagles sophomore Mikayla Akers' shot as the fifth and final player for Woodrow. Miller took the final shot for the Patriots in the first round of PKs and could have won it, but her kick went off the crossbar and over the goal, sending it into the second round.
GW sent several shots off the crossbar and posts and even failed to convert a penalty kick in the second half.
"Sometimes you can shoot as many times as you want to and they just don't go in,'' said GW first-year coach Megan Johnson. "That's just soccer. We possessed the ball so well and we controlled that game. We deserved this win.''
Senior goalie Emily Lane made 10 stops for No. 17 Woodrow (11-7-4).
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.