‘N2 Stix’ field hockey season ends

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2002

The second season of the N2 Stix field hockey season came to an end on Monday evening at Lakeland High School as the Pink Ladies came in first in the younger league and the Yellow team finished tops in the older league.

The little Ladies had a tough task ahead of them

Monday. To secure first place, they’d have to defeat the Pink Panthers, a team that had tied them earlier in the season.

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For the first half, it was clear that neither team was willing to give an inch. Each team spent equal time on the attack, but neither was able to push a goal across. The second half was more of the same, with each Pink team coming closer every time it got control. Both teams had goals called back because of penalties, and the Ladies held a narrow 4-3 shot lead.

If the game had ended in a tie, the Ladies would be tied for first. But Kelsey Smither made sure that didn’t happen.

While two of her teammates charged toward the Panther goal, the nine-year-old trailed behind, ready to knock back a defensive shot. But the Panthers were called for obstruction, and Smither had to take a penalty shot in front of the goal with 20 seconds to play.

&uot;I was just trying to find a space to get it through,&uot; said the Southwestern Elementary School student. She did so; her shot bounced past and over a plethora of sticks before it rolled into the Panther goal.

&uot;The best part of this season,&uot; said Smither, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of her older sister Katelyn, a member of Lakeland’s varsity field hockey team, &uot;was that we had a really good team!&uot; The Ladies finished at 7-1-1.

On the older field, the Yellow team ended its 8-1 season by defeating the Blue team 5-0. Darcy Pinchbeck and Caiti Fleming scored two goals each, and Meg Eason knocked in one.

For Yellow coach Ashley Alston, the season ended the greatest turnaround a coach can experience; her girls came in last in 2001. &uot;I figured we’d finish at least in the top half of the standings,&uot; said the 1999 graduate of Nansemond River High School (NRHS) and current Christopher Newport University (CNU) student.

Robyn Mazzone, a member of both of Alston’s teams, credited their success to communication. &uot;We had really great teamwork and talking on the field this season,&uot; said the Lakeland junior.

Alston, who played three years on the NRHS varsity field hockey team and continues her career at CNU, just coaching field hockey was a fine experience. &uot;I can’t wait to do it again,&uot; she said. &uot;This sport is in my blood; it’s my passion.&uot;