WINFIELD - There might have been more blood and tears shed than sweat on a windy Saturday in Winfield. And for all of the efforts by Class AAA No. 2 Hurricane and the No. 3 Generals, nothing was decided but the fact that both are legitimate state championship contenders.
With the Redskins leading 3-2, Hurricane's backup goalie Callie McClanahan withstood a ferocious Winfield attack for most of the game's final 30 minutes and almost made it stand, but the Generals' Jayne Lawman broke through with just 5:13 left and a punishing Putnam County rivalry game ended in a 3-3 draw.
Winfield coach Marshall Hoff said while it was frustrating watching several good opportunities fall by the wayside late in the game, it was a good indication of where his team is.
"It's tough," Hoff said. "We knew where we were early tactically. We got anxious on some of the finishes and they have an excellent keeper, both the one coming out and the one going in; they're blessed there. We were a little nervous. It's a rival, there's no doubt about that, and we stand a chance of seeing them a couple more times."
Hurricane (11-0-1) was able to grab an early lead when Audrey Barber buried a goal off an assist from Abby Watson with just over seven minutes gone by in the first half.
The goal seemed to wake up Winfield, and in particular Emily Cole.
Cole answered a few minutes later with two goals in a matter of 1:28, with the second coming while being body-slammed by starting goalie Hannah Thompson. Thompson, who had fallen and was trying to prevent Cole from having a wide-open look at the net, received a yellow card and exited the game in favor of McClanahan as the Generals took a 2-1 advantage into the break.
Cole seemed right at home in the game's physical atmosphere. When she wasn't scoring, she was controlling the middle of the field and stealing balls, all while beating and banging with just about every player she could find wearing red.
In fact, several players were forced to leave the game with minor injuries, one from each team with bloodied faces.
After Cole's heroics, it was Watson's turn to take over. Hurricane's sophomore forward scored two goals of her own less than four minutes apart early in the second half, giving the Redskins a lead they just couldn't quite keep.
"This is the most adversity we've faced. I was really proud of what they did," Hurricane coach Shelly Young said. "We had to play people in different positions that they're not used to playing. I thought everybody stepped up and adjusted really well and left everything out on the field. It was a good game between two top teams. Obviously we wanted to win, but I thought it was representative of how both teams played - both teams played really well."
Winfield took 10 shots, including nine on goal in the second half, and McClanahan made saves on eight of them, finishing the game with 10. Faith Burchett stopped eight shots for the Generals (8-0-2).
Reach Ryan Pritt 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.