MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WBOY) – There may not be a greater surprise in West Virginia high school soccer over the last two years than the rapid ascension of Trinity Christian School.

Since head coach Dan Lohmann took over at the start of last season, the Warriors have won the first OVAC conference championship in school history and on Saturday, earned a chance to play for a spot in the state tournament with a sectional championship win over Wheeling Central.

At the heart of that win was the performance of Trinity’s starting goalkeeper and the son of the program’s architect, Ben Lohmann.

With the game tied at one following two extra time periods, it progressed to penalties where Lohmann saved three of the Maroon Knights’ seven attempts and calmly stepped up to bury the game-winner himself, sending Trinity to regionals.

Now in his third year as the starter, his process in a moment like that is all between the ears.

“It’s all mind games. It’s all mental. Anybody can dive the right way and stop a penalty but the wins and losses are decided mentally,” Lohmann said, “Where you know they’re going to go. Trying to make them go a certain way. it’s all in your head.”

The younger Lohmann does have a pretty good mentor to lean on with the elder being a national championship-winning goalkeeper at Bethany College and a member of the Morgantown High Athletic Hall of Fame.

While the parent/coach balance can be a tricky dilemma, both sides of Dan Lohmann found some clarity, and admittedly more than a few nerves, when his son stepped up to the penalty spot.

“Having been in that spot, I didn’t feel the pressure and I don’t think he does either. The goalkeeper’s not supposed to stop them so it’s always a bonus when you get one stopped,” he said, “For him to take one its a totally different story so when you see him step up to kick it, that felt a lot different and to see it go in the back of the net, that was quite an experience.”

Just like his father said, Ben Lohmann understood pretty quickly the shift in mindset that needed to happen between saving the final shot and taking his own.

It was that quick thinking that made that final attempt little more than a formality.

“The save really helped. I was more nervous for the save than I was for the shot because I knew if I didn’t get the save and then missed the shot, it was the complete opposite of what happened so I just took one thing at a time,” he said, “My mindset went from being the goalkeeper and soon as it was over I was an attacker and treated it as such.”

Trinity Christian School will play for its first-ever appearance in the state soccer tournament Thursday night against Fairmont Senior.