By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Winfield Lady Generals head coach Marshall Hoff was keeping a secret from his team this season.
He hadn’t told them that if they won the Class AAA state championship this season, that Winfield would have more state titles than any other girls soccer program. He didn’t want to distract his team.
That was a secret well kept.
Winfield won its second straight title and record fifth overall Saturday afternoon at Cline Stadium, by defeating the scrappy underdog Washington Lady Patriots 2-0.
“I never told them anything,” Hoff said about the record.
“Really? I think that’s awesome!” junior forward Jayne Lawman said. “I didn’t know that. It’s definitely an honor.”
It was sophomore sensation Jordan Pauley who got the scoring started early for the Lady Generals, netting an unassisted goal in the 10th minute.
Lawman added her own in the 42nd on an assist from Katherine Bryant to put the game out of reach.
“We never gave up,” Lawman said. “We’ve always had this goal set of being the last one standing in the circle. We give it all we have and we play well as a team. It all paid off.”
Winfield went through a tough Morgantown opponent, and an underdog Washington program to reach that goal.
“I always say that we’re here to play,” senior Braiden Maddox said. “We went out and just played our game. There’s a little bit of pressure, but we always pray before the game and give that burden to God. We just go out there and play. So the pressure eases. It’s a lot easier to take the field knowing that.”
The Generals were almost flawless in their execution, performing precision passes and rifling set pieces, clearly displaying the dominance that led to them being a nationally ranked program for much of the season.
“They’re one of the best teams I’ve seen in a couple of years; I’d put them up against a lot of college programs in this state,” Washington coach Tim Michael said. “We were able to hold them to a couple of goals. I told my girls, ‘Don’t lower your head. You stepped up against the best team in the state and played with them in the states. We played with them the whole game.’ Today they got the better of us. Hopefully we see them again.”
Perhaps it was the seeing them again part that made Winfield the best in the state.
While many teams from the southern part of the state choose to remain in the region to play, Winfield traveled to Charles Town earlier this season to battle the Patriots on their own field.
“People wonder why you jump on a school bus and head six hours to play a team,” he explained. “That’s why. They’re here. They’re a good team. We knew we couldn’t let them rest.”
And as the Lady Generals celebrated on the field after the match — as the final team remaining in the circle — it was the finish line Hoff had envisioned when the season began.
“When you come into a season, you never set to run a race for anything less than a price,” he said. “People ask me if I saw myself being here today with this group of young ladies who have made this journey — there was no doubt. We weren’t just going to make a run. We were going to give all we had to get where we are today.”
— E-mail: jrollins@
register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.