Lakeland holds off Granby to reach semis

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Heather Byrd knocked in two goals and Katelyn Smither had three assists (and a goal that hit the net seconds after the final whistle blew) as Lakeland held off a late charge by Granby to take a 4-2 victory in the quarterfinals of the Eastern Region field hockey tournament Tuesday at Va. Beach’s Bayside High School. The Lady Comets scored two goals in the final 10 minutes, but the Lady Cavalier offense went on the attack for the last four minutes to end the game.

Nicole Debien got Lakleland on the board 9:32 into the game when she slapped in a Smither pass from the right corner. Byrd followed her up a minute later, scoring on another assist from Smither for a 2-0 lead. Byrd and Smither combined for another goal midway through the first half, and the Lady Cavaliers held a 3-0 halftime lead.

It seemed to be more of the same for the first few minutes of the second half. The Lady Cavaliers went back on the attack, allowing only two shots in first 13 minutes. With just under 15 minutes to play, Granby took a penalty shot just outside their circle.

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The ball shot into the center, where Byrd was waiting. She took possession, and shot a pass to Debien, on the left side of the circle.

Debien sent a shot across that center that made it past the goalkeeper’s outstretched guard, but the ball appeared headed out of bounds. But Nicole Klee caught up and deflected it into the goal for a 4-0 lead.

After that, however, Granby took over. As a cluster of players gathered in front of the Lakeland goal, Amanda Polimus sent a pass out of the pack to Dani Moran, who smacked the ball into the right side of the goal to get Granby on the board with 10 minutes to play.

The enthused Lady Comets went on the offensive, and Moran broke down the right sideline with just over four minutes left. She sent a bouncing pass into the center, where Amy Volmann knocked it into for the lead. But the Lady Comets were unable to get off another shot, and Lake-land was headed to the semifinals for the second year in a row.

Rain caused Tuesday’s game to be postponed four times last week, but Smither wasn’t concerned.

&uot;That just meant that we had to prepare for this game four times,&uot; said the sophomore, who along with teammates Jennifer Brinkley and Erin Bradley was named to the All-Southeastern District first team (seven other Lady Cavaliers also made All-District honors).

&uot;The most important thing is that the ball gets in the goal,&uot; Smither said of her assists. &uot;It didn’t matter if I didn’t score.&uot;

Granby’s late goals dismayed Lakeland coach Tara McClenney. &uot;We didn’t play nearly as well in the second half as in the first,&uot; she said.

&uot;It didn’t seem like even the same team. If we want to move to the next round, we’re going to have to play with more consistency.&uot;

That’s a certainty. At 1 p.m. Thursday at Va. Beach’s Cox High School, Lakeland will battle Va. Beach’s Princess Anne, which knocked it out of the tournament in the semfinals last season. To reach the semis, Princess Anne scored a 3-1 victory over Kecoughtan (who beat Lakeland twice during the regular season) on Tuesday.