WINFIELD - The word family often comes up often when coaches and players describe the bond they share, but for two Kanawha Valley girls soccer teams, that has taken on a deeper meaning this season.
For George Washington and Winfield, the run to this week's state tournament has been powered by sisters.
At defending state champion Winfield, Jayne and Mary Lawman are the leading and second-leading goal scorers, respectively, while Paige and Reiley Bannister and twins Carley and Claire Miller have been a big help in supporting roles.
For GW, the trio of Taylor and younger twins Hannah and Kayse Ellis has guided the Patriots, who finished state runners-up last year, back for another crack at the prize.
Winfield takes on Morgantown in Friday's Class AAA semifinals, while GW squares off with Washington in the other bracket. (See Page 2B for pairings and schedule.)
Jayne Lawman, a junior who has already verbally committed to Marshall, has netted a team-high 22 goals for the Generals while Mary Lawman has chipped in 20 in her first season. Paige Bannister has pitched in five goals as one of the top substitutes.
Winfield (21-1-1) has been No. 1 for most of the season in the state coaches association rankings.
"They push each other to be better,'' said Winfield 10th-year coach Marshall Hoff after a recent practice. "They bring that mentality. You love that because that's what you're selling. We spend a lot of time together. These girls share a lot of emotions. We're a family.''
Paige Bannister, a senior, said the siblings make everyone better players.
"I think we all motivate each other because we can be honest,'' she smiled. "We have a lot of will.''
"When I do something wrong, she'll tell me,'' Mary Lawman chimed in of big sis Jayne. "She's honest about it and it helps me play.''
Jayne Lawman said the closeness she shares with younger sister Mary permeates throughout the team.