Debien’s tricks get Lakeland a big treat

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 2, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Nicole Debien conjured up her second hat trick of the season as Lakeland captured its third consecutive Southeastern District tournament title Friday with a 4-0 defeat of crosstown rival Nansemond River at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex. Because Lakeland won both the regular season and tournament title, River, as the second-place tournament finisher, will join its Suffolk mates in regional competition, which begins Tuesday.

Debien smacked in her first goal less than a minute into the game, as Katelyn Smither drove down the left side of the field after the opening face-off and shot a pass to her in the center for the score. Though the Lady Cavaliers ended the first half with a 5-0 shooting advantage, they were unable to sneak another shot past goalkeeper Amber Shaffer.

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&uot;After we scored the first goal, we told each other not to settle, but we did, a little bit,&uot; Debien said. &uot;We picked up our intensity in the second half, because we knew they could poke one in.&uot;

The Lady Warriors came close, holding the ball on Lakeland’s side of the field for the first four minutes of the second half. Lakeland goalkeeper Kelsey Cutchins kicked away three shots, and the Lady Cavaliers were able to clear the ball as the clock ticked down to 13 minutes.

Lakeland got a corner shot with 12:45 to go, and Ashley McCord knocked it to Debien. Debien leaned down and stopped the ball with the middle part of her stick, allowing Smither to golf a shot toward the left side of the River goal. It nearly went out of bounds, but McCord stopped it and flipped it behind Shaffer. As the ball bounced along the end line, it struck a Lady Warrior and went into the net. Since McCord was the last Lady Cavalier to touch the ball, she got credit for the goal.

River went back on the attack, but Lakeland quickly fought them off, and Stephanie Owen took a breakaway down the left side of the field. Shaffer came out to meet her, and knocked the ball toward the left side of the endline. Owen caught up to it and slapped it across to Debien, who scored. Jennifer Brinkley assisted on Debien’s third goal, which came with 5:31 left to go.

Despite the loss, River’s Ali Mowry was enthused about heading to regional competition for the first time in her high school career. &uot;We just wanted to make it to regionals in the first place, and we’re going to come out fighting Tuesday,&uot; said the senior Lady Warrior, who will lead her team against Beach district champion Tallwood Tuesday at the Sportsplex. Lakeland will play the winner of the Princess Anne-Kempsville game, which was played later Friday.