"We had a couple of tough games and I think the guys finally realized it's going to take more effort,'' said Hopper, who only has two senior starters. "There are other teams out there better than us and we better find a way if we're going to do it.
"I think they finally started to understand that we want them to play simple. The more they play simple - one touch and a pass, find the open man, don't try to force the ball - we seem to be a much better team.''
Junior Noah Miller is GW's top scorer with 12 goals while senior Garrett Warner has 10 and junior Peter Nelson nine. Junior keeper Garrett Phillips has a state-best 14 shutouts.
The Patriots have only scored four goals in three postseason games, but have found a way to stay alive. GW's postseason run has featured a different hero at each elimination level.
Senior defender Caleb Barnette scored the winning goal during the second round of sudden-death penalty kicks against SC. Daniel Glines' tallied only his fourth goal of the year versus Woodrow.
"I'm proud of the way the kids are playing,'' said Hopper.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.