Smither scores two as Lady Cavaliers take another district title

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Katelyn Smither scored both goals in Lakeland’s 2-1 defeat of Nansemond River in a playoff for the Southeastern District title at Western Branch High School on Monday. Smither, a sophomore, took an assist from Erin Bradley with 2:41 left to knock in the tie-breaking goal. The win, which avenged the 2-1 defeat the Lady Warriors handed the Lady Cavaliers on Sept. 25, also earned the Lady Cavaliers a bid in regional competition, which begins in late October.

&uot;I’m ecstatic,&uot; said Lakeland coach Tara McClenney, whose team tied for the district title in 2000 and won it outright last season. &uot;So many people counted us out when we lost seven seniors from last season, but my girls knew they had the potential to make it. This year has been a real roller coaster.&uot;

The Lady Cavaliers went on the attack from the start, racking up the match’s first three shots. Just over 10 minutes into the game, Nicole Klee dribbled up the right sideline, and shot a pass into the middle, where Bradley and Nicole Debian were waiting. The two Lady Cavaliers clashed with a group of Lady Warriors, and the ball eventually shot into the air, and skittered over to Smither, who was on the left side of the circle. She reached forward and lightly tapped it into the corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead.


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Lakeland went back on the attack, but Nansemond River slowly took over, and kept the ball on the Lady Cavaliers’ side of the field for the majority of the half’s last 10 minutes. With 2:26 to play, Ali Mowry took the ball to the right corner, and dribbled up the endline.

Lakeland goalkeeper Kelsey Cutchins came out to defend, and Mowry shot the ball toward the back-center area of the circle to Ashley Aston. Aston slapped the ball into the right side of the goal, and the game was tied.

At halftime, the Lady Cavaliers discussed how to go back on the offensive. &uot;The momentum was in our favor for the first half, but we could feel it slipping to them,&uot; said McClenney. &uot;We had to start from square one; this was a new game, but it was only 30 minutes long.&uot;

Their methods didn’t seem to work for the first part of the half, as the Lady Warriors pounded four consecutive shots at Kutchins, who fought them all off. The Lady Cavaliers took control several times, but the Lady Warriors kept coming.

Then, with three minutes to go, Lakeland took over, and got the ball into the Nan-semond River circle. The Lady Warriors attempted to clear it, but the ball went too high, and the Lady Cavaliers got a free shot just outside the circle, at the center.

Bradley took the shot, and knocked it toward the left side of the goal. The ball rolled past several players, eventually reaching Smither near the endline.

&uot;I knew Erin was outside the circle, so I had to get my stick on the ball,&uot; said the sophomore Lady Cavalier. &uot;I just laid my stick down to hit it.&uot;

Her plan worked; the ball ricocheted into the corner of the goal, and the Lady Cavaliers had another title.

&uot;If we played like we always had, we knew this game would go our way,&uot; said Smither. &uot;Our motivation comes from each other.&uot;

Lakeland, Nansemond River, Western Branch, and Great Bridge will play in the district tournament, which begins Wednesday at Nansemond River.