Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Morgantown boys fall to George Washington in state semifinals

BECKLEY — The Morgantown boys’ soccer team saw its season come to an end Thursday evening by way of a 5-1 defeat to George Washington in the semifinals of the Class AAA WVSSAC state soccer tournament.

The Mohigans scored the opening goal of the match to take a 1-0 lead after just 10 minutes had been played but the Patriots equalized five minutes later and found the lead just before halftime. Three additional goals were added in the second half by GW en route to the final score.

The Patriots will await the winner of Spring Mills and Hurricane in the championship on Saturday afternoon.

The Mohigans finish their season with a record of 17-5-1.

“You give GW an inch and they can take a mile,” MHS head coach Sam Snyder said. “If they get a chance on a 1-on-1 or to make a move they’re going to make it most of the time and they’re super talented, all the credit to them. (Thursday) wasn’t our day.”

MHS opened the scoring just ten minutes into the match when Alexander Gonzalez-Tanon connected with a free kick played into the box by Aidan Stire. Gonzalez headed the ball over the hands of the GW keeper and into the back of the net to break the ice.

It didn’t take long for the Patriots to equalize though, as GW’s Michael Luechauer took the ball into the box by himself before putting the ball into the back of the net after MHS keeper Tyler Crites slipped out of position.

GW took a 2-1 lead into the break after forward CJ Knapper worked the ball down the right wing before cutting inside to his left foot with some fancy footwork. He wrapped his left foot around the ball and curled a shot into the far corner of the net for the go-ahead goal.

The Patriots picked up in the second half right where they had left off in the first, as it only took five minutes to find their third goal once the second half had started.

Knapper converted a penalty kick after an accidental handball by one of the MHS players inside of the 18-yard box to double the lead at 3-1. The fourth GW goal came on another penalty kick after a foul was called inside the box as well.

The fifth came from another impressive solo effort by Luechauer as he split a pair of defenders before burying the shot into the far corner for our final score of 5-1.

“I’ll take some of the blame, of course, I confused the boys a bit trying to get us in spaces that we maybe weren’t comfortable with,” Snyder said. “But also they’re a really good team and it takes one of your best games to beat them. We have nothing but respect for them.”

Snyder also spoke about his team overall this year and what they meant for the program.

“Our seniors have been our spine and backbone,” Snyder said. “They have carried this team on and off the field mentally, physically, emotionally. They began their varsity careers as champions and in my book, they’re leaving as champions. It just wasn’t our tournament this time.”