Lady Cavaliers get it together for tournament win

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Staff report

Katelyn Smither had a goal and assist to complete her second-consecutive Suffolk Invitational field hockey tournament Most Valuable Player performance as Lakeland defeated Kecoughtan 3-0 to take first in the tourney on Saturday afternoon. Smither smacked in a pass from Ashley McCord in the first half, then passed to Nicole Klee for the team’s second goal. Brittany West finished out the scoring by whacking in a rebounded Smither shot for the last goal. Smither had six goals and five assists in the tournament (she’s led the Southeastern District in both categories the last two seasons).

After getting off to a roaring start in the tournament with a 7-1 win over Landstown on Tuesday, the Lady Cavaliers didn’t have it on Friday, barely slipping past Granby 2-1. Going up against a team that had roared through the competition (including a 3-0 defeat of Nansemond River on Saturday), Smither knew that her team couldn’t play around. After kicking off the day with a 7-0 win over Catholic, they prepared to face the team that defeated them in the finals of the 2002-03 tournament.

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&uot;We were really pumped up coming in,&uot; she said. &uot;We had a good warmup, and we were ready to play. We said that our goal was to play with the same energy level throughout, and we kept building on good plays that we made. We made some good passing combinations early, and it hyped everybody up.&uot;

Just as they did for the game-winner against Granby, Smither and McCord combined on a corner stroke to open the Kecoughtan game. With 17 minutes left, McCord slid a pass to Smither near the outside of the circle. Smither grabbed it, juked past a defender, and smacked it in.

The game went back and forth, with both teams threatening. Then, with 5:30 left in the half, McCord had another corner stroke. She again hit it to Smither, who slapped it across the circle. As it got near the left side, Klee strode forward and knocked a bouncing ball into the goal.

The first 20 minutes of the second half were also action-packed, with goalkeeper Kelsey Cutchins having to knock back four Lady Warrior shots. With just over five minutes left, KHS had a free shot outside the circle. Chelsea Salmon grabbed the ball in front of the left goalpost, and stroked a pass across the center. Just in front of the midfield mark, Smither outraced a defender for the ball, sidestepped her, and charged down the left side of the field.

The KHS keeper stepped forward, and Smither shot toward the right side of the goal. It bounced off the keeper’s right leg and headed farther out right, where West was entering the circle. She took the ball and snapped it back to the left, where it slipped in for the final score of the day.

Aside from Smither’s top honor, McCord, Lindsay Kelly, Stephanie Owen and Cutchins (who allowed two goals in four games) all made the All-Tournament team.

&uot;I was talking to my defense and making sure that everyone was marked,&uot; said Cutchins. &uot;I didn’t get but so much action, because my defense did really well.&uot;

Six different players scored for the Lady Cavaliers in their defeat of Catholic. The Crusaders held off the Lady Cavaliers until about fifteen minutes left in the first half when Smither scored off a penalty corner.

Smither’s shot was set up at the top of the scoring circle with an assist from Kelly.

Barely more than a minute later, Salmon scored on a rebound right in front of the goalmouth to make it 2-0.

Seven minutes into the second half, a Catholic three-on-two breakaway resulted in a penalty shot.

Cutchins saved the penalty with a kick save off her left pad to maintain the shutout.

Lakeland continued to control play during the last twenty minutes.

Second-half goals were scored by Lindsay Cutchins, McCord, Owen, West and again from Smither.

Nansemond River had a much closer affair against Churchland in the fifth/sixth place game. Lady Warrior keeper Amber Shaffer turned away six shots on goal for the shutout.

That, combined with a Heather Horton goal with 6:05 left in the match was enough for the 1-0 Nansemond River win.

The Lady Warriors controlled most of the run of play, outshooting their opponents 22-6 for the match.

They allowed just one shot on goal in the second half, however Churchland had two potential breakaways denied by Shaffer.

Horton’s game winning goal came off a deflected shot from the top of the arc.

Horton gathered the rebound just to the right of the goal and put away the shot from about ten feet out.

In an earlier game, Katelyn Yandle scored all three goals in a 3-0 win over Landstown.

The Lady Warriors hosted Hampton late Monday (not completed at press time) and Lakeland visits Western Branch on Wednesday.