PHS lands three first teamers for all-state
CHARLESTON — No matter the year, no matter how many players graduate, no matter how many new players find themselves starting, George Washington always fields one of the strongest defensive units in boys soccer.
That was no different this year, as the Patriots yielded only nine goals until a 2-1 loss to Hurricane in the state semifinals ended their season.
At the center of nearly everything GW did this season was senior Cole Snyder.
Spending much of the year as a center back and also playing forward and midfield, Snyder is one of three GW players to earn Class AAA first-team all-state honors and was named the first-team captain by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
“He was a key player on the 2016 undefeated team, starting at left back,” GW coach Kevin Cushing said. “Coming into this year, we made him a captain. Through the first 70 percent of the season, he was a central defender for us and he was really solid.
“Snyder had a lot to do with leading the defense to so many shutouts and so much success. As the season went on, we weren’t clicking enough offensively and I put Cole as a left forward where he made an instant impact. That’s evidence to what kind of player he is. There are games I put him in as a central midfielder as well. He can play anywhere.”
Snyder is one of two GW players listed at defender along with fellow senior Zak Abdul-Jalil.
Snyder returned as one of only two starters remaining from the Patriots’ 2016 state-championship team, the other being junior striker Chance Anderson, who is the third player named to the first team for the Patriots.
Anderson scored seven of his 23 goals in sectional final and regional final wins over Capital and Princeton.
While GW’s defense spurred it onto another run to the state tournament, once there the Patriots were outdone by a Hurricane team that lost just one game on the season en route to a state championship, the team’s first since 2012. The Redskins also placed three players on the first team in seniors Jackson Snavely (defender) and Dalton Burch (goalkeeper) and junior midfielder Ryan Fisher.
“That tournament run was so neat and so special for those boys,” Hurricane coach Jim Dagostine said. “Jackson moved between defender and the midfield and he just came up so big for us so many times and the state tournament was just one example. I’ve been saying Dalton Burch is the best keeper in the state for the last two years. He’s a great competitor and has really developed technically at the position. He’s had an outstanding couple of years.
“There’s a smile on my face right now talking about [Ryan]. From midyear on, I thought he was one of the best players in the state. We have a pretty extensive offseason program and Jackson and Dalton have always bought into it. Ryan for the first time got involved at a high level this year. He got stronger, his conditioning improved so much – it helped him in every aspect.”
Fisher hit two long goals down the stretch, one in the Region IV final against Parkersburg and another from almost the exact same spot on the field in a semifinal win over GW. Snavely scored two goals and assisted on one at the state tournament.
Parkersburg was the third and final school to land three players on the first team with seniors Matt Runyon (midfielder), Ian Domenick (defender) and Parker Miller at a utility spot.
Wheeling Park, Hurricane’s opponent in the Class AAA title game, placed sophomore midfielder Chris Romanek (12 goals, eight assists) and sophomore goalkeeper Zach Calvert (seven shutouts) on the first team.
Joining Anderson at the forward position were Hedgesville senior Jacob Burton, University junior Joe Biafora and Princeton junior Drew Hopkins. University senior Liam Theeke rounds out the midfield with Greenbrier East sophomore Ian McManamay taking the final utility spot.