CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Winfield's Mackenzie Arthur was hoping for a chance to make a difference Saturday morning. When the opportunity presented itself the co-captain didn't let her teammates down.
Arthur booted home the deciding goal in the second round of the penalty-kick shootout to send the top-ranked and defending state champion Generals to a 2-1 victory over Hurricane in the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship game.
A vocal crowd of about 400 attended the Putnam County rivalry and matchup of top-5 Class AAA state-ranked teams at Schoenbaum Soccer Stadium in Coonskin Park. Winfield won at Hurricane 3-1 in late September after falling behind 1-0.
Hurricane sophomore Anna Dyer scored a goal to the left of Winfield keeper Haley Evans to give the No. 3 Redskins a 4-3 edge in the second round of penalty kicks. Generals co-captain Braiden Maddox, though, knotted it at 4-all with a shot into the upper right corner of the net.
After Redskins sophomore Josie Kroeger sent her shot over the goal, Winfield's Arthur, the eighth player to shoot, stepped up and delivered the winner just under the cross bar and over Hurricane junior goalie Hannah Thompson for the victory. Arthur sprinted toward her teammates at midfield, but they met her halfway and engulfed her in jubilation.
"Just thinking that I had to do it for my team,'' said Arthur. "It felt really great. I'm really proud of my team. We just fought the entire game.''
Ties aren't broken during the regular season, but the MSAC needed to crown a champion. The conference used the postseason format for breaking ties, playing two 10-minute overtime periods in which the first goal wins before proceeding to the shootout, where each team sends four players to the 8-yard mark to take alternating shots. Hurricane (14-1-2) and Winfield (17-1-1) will both be credited with a tie on their regular-season record.
"What a great honor and prize to take away,'' said Winfield coach Marshall Hoff, whose team became an MSAC member just two seasons ago. "It's always good these opportunities come about.
"It's just been a couple of seasons ago [a shootout] decided the state championship. You look toward that being a good learning curve. Just the intensity of that kind of a game brings that level."