"They made some plays and we had some mistakes. We kind of learned who could do what. People just adjusted to new positions and just had to learn to do different things. We're finally starting to click together.''
Junior Jesse Richmond was thrust into an offensive role while Taylor was out, finishing with a second-best 10 goals and a team-high seven assists while moving from defense, midfield and forward.
Senior midfielder Ronnie Beale tallied five goals in the first 12 games to give Winfield another scoring option. Seniors Geoffrey Samples and Simon Sneeringer and juniors Austin Miller and Noah Laliberty also kept the Generals together from their defensive positions along with senior Keegan Patrick, who helped lock down the midfield with Beale, and senior Hunter Sheldon on the outside wing. In addition, freshman Vladik Johns and junior Nathan Keefe have filled key positions.
"Just getting everybody back is a big plus,'' said Foster. "We still don't have the consistency we need. We don't have the cohesion that we would have had if we had played together all year.
"Steven's a leader up front and Austin's a big part of our defense. Getting both of them back has made a tremendous difference. I felt like we had an 18-win team, but it just hasn't happened with all the injuries. It's just made it hard to get things going.''
After finally getting everyone healthy, the Generals were brimming with confidence heading into the postseason.
"We talked about [getting on a run],'' Foster said. "All four of our sectional opponents we beat in the regular season. We had that circled. We wanted to be No. 1 and have the [sectional tournament at Winfield].
"We accomplished that. We just felt like we had a good chance at Huntington. We played a good game and a few things went our way. It's coming together pretty good right now.''
Through it all, the Generals' faith in each other has never wavered.
"We want to do something big,'' said Taylor. "I believe we're going to do something big.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.