By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Woodrow Wilson’s improved soccer teams will face their biggest challenges of the season when they take on George Washington in the Class AAA Region 3 championships at Trace Fork Soccer Complex in Charleston.
The Flying Eagles are on a roll coming out of strong sectional play. The boys, 15-5-3 and ranked No. 16 in the state, have not lost since a 7-1 decision at Parkersburg on Sept. 28.
They’ve outscored opponents 27-5 in their last six games, including a 1-0 decision over Wheeling Park earlier this month, and a 2-0 victory last Thursday against previously-unbeaten Oak Hill in the Section 2 final.
Oak Hill had won a previous match 4-0.
“That was a special win because they’re cross-town rivals and they had beaten us in the regular season,” coach Rockey Powell said. “They wanted to avenge that loss. Hopefully we’ll come out and play George Washington the same way.”
It’s a formidable task. The Patriots are 20-0-2 and hold the top spot in the latest W.Va. Soccer Association rankings. They’ve held opponents without a goal in 16 matches, and have outscored opponents 69-9.
The first of the nine goals scored against them was by Woodrow, back on Sept. 26. The Flying Eagles led 1-0 early, but the Patriots equalized before halftime and rolled to the win.
“We put a lot of pressure on them in the first half, but we weren’t as aggressive defensively in the second half as we should have been,” Powell said.
George Washington is coming off a tough, 4-3 victory over South Charleston in the Section 1 title game.
Game time is 5 p.m. The girls will play 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
The Lady Eagles are 12-6-4 and ranked 30th in the state. They defeated Greenbrier East 2-1 and Princeton 2-0 in the sectionals.
“We’ve been much more consistent the past two games,” coach Paulette Umberger said. “They’ve worked all season on little things trying to improve, and it’s starting to come together.”
The 5-0 regular-season loss to George Washington is one she remembers well.
“They were a more physical team, and we had a couple of mistakes on set plays that cost us three goals,” she said. “We have to fix that.”
Woodrow has outscored opponents 62-36. Forward Rebekah Cook has scored 20 goals, while midfielder and playmaker Sarah Akers has 14.
George Washington is 18-2-2 and ranked No. 6 in the state.
The Patriots, who downed Riverside 7-0 in the Section 1 final, outscored opponents 82-13 in the regular season.
Tonight’s winners will play next Friday in the state tournament at the YMCA’s Paul Cline Stadium. The boys will meet the Region 2 winner at approximately 12:30 p.m., while the girls winner takes on the Region 2 champion at approximately 7:30 p.m.
n Class AA Region 3 finals are Thursday at East River Soccer Complex in Bluefield.
PikeView’s girls will face Nicholas County at 5 p.m., while the boys meet Pocahontas County at 7 p.m.
— E-mail: dstillwell@