CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Six Kanawha Valley high school soccer teams will be seeking a storybook ending to their seasons when the state tournament begins this week.
George Washington's boys and girls and Winfield's boys and girls in Class AAA and Charleston Catholic's boys and Sissonville's girls in AA-A advanced to Friday's state tournament semifinals at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley. (See Page 2B for pairings and schedule.)
The GW boys finished No. 1 in the state coaches association final rankings and are the only squad still undefeated in its class. The Patriots lost 1-0 to eventual state runner-up Parkersburg in last year's state semis.
This season, the Patriots edged South Charleston 4-3 in the sectional championship then demolished Woodrow Wilson 3-0 in the regional final.
"It would mean everything,'' said GW senior Daniel Glines, who scored three goals in the regional, of winning a state title. "That's what we work for at the beginning of the season. We get a championship, there's nothing better.
"Best week and best games of the year if you make it [to the state tournament]. We all come out and play hard every game. We got tested [against South Charleston]. You want to get tested before you get to the bigger games. It feels good to get tested.''
The GW girls are also after a measure of revenge after falling 4-2 to Winfield in overtime of last year's AAA championship game. The Patriots, who finished fourth in the final rankings, had to weather a shootout to escape with a 1-0 win over Woodrow in the regionals.
"A state title is something GW has never won [in girls soccer],'' said GW first-year coach Megan Johnson, a former Patriots standout. "Being a part of it myself and so close, I want this for the girls even more. The way they fought hard all the way to the end, [they're ready for anything].''
The Winfield girls are seeking back-to-back state titles, something they haven't done since capturing the first three titles in 1995-1997. The Generals, who have been No. 1 most of the season, dispatched Hurricane for the third time this year 4-1 in the section championship, then took care of Spring Valley 3-0 in the regionals.