Regional royalty: Patriots move to state tournament

INWOOD — Soon enough it will be Patriots vs. Patriots.

When Washington High turned away Elkins, 1-0, in the Class AAA, Region II girls soccer championship game, the victory earned the Patriots a state tournament semifinal date against George Washington (Charleston) in Beckley on Friday.

Haelly Ramirez moves past an Elkins player in the Patriots’ Regional win.

Haelly Ramirez moves past an Elkins player in the Patriots’ Regional win.

Washington must have believed in the old adage that tells “The third time is the charm” because this was the team’s third straight year in the Region II championship game. The Patriots had lost in the Region II event in both 2011 and 2012.

But with the game’s lone goal coming from freshman Olivia Dominski, Washington had blanked Elkins on the neutral field at the Musselman High soccer complex.

George Washington’s Patriots had edged Beckley Woodrow Wilson, 4-3, in a game decided by penalty kicks.

The championship game’s only goal came early in the fourth period when the Patriots’ Stephanie DeLawder directed a corner kick toward teammate Haelly Ramirez, who was stationed in front of the Elkins goal.

Ramirez sent a header toward Lady Tiger goalkeeper Charlie George. George positioned herself well enough to block Ramirez’s shot, but Dominski quickly controlled the ball and tucked a shot into the Elkins net.

The entire game was played with few good shot-attempts managed by either side. Washington had about three times as many shots that had a real chance of reaching the net than did the Lady Tigers.

Washington’s defense nearly smothered or disrupted every foray the Lady Tigers had.

Kylie Nelson was Washington’s goalkeeper in the clutch win.

Both sides had few serious offensive probes in the first half.

In the second half, Washington was able to move through the Elkins defense for several realistic shot-attempts. Elkins continued to have problems against the Washington defense.

The Patriots will take a 15-6-2 overall record to Beckley on Friday for the state tournament semifinal game against George Washington.

Maybe the first time will be the charm for the Patriots at the state tournament.


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