‘Wata’ great victory!

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 27, 2005

Jessica Watahovich knocked in an assist from Katelyn Yandle with 9:45 on the clock as Nansemond River defeated Great Bridge 2-1 Wednesday at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex to advance to the finals of the Southeastern District tournament. It was the Lady Warriors’ second 2-1 defeat of their Chesapeake foes this season.

After the Lady Wildcats tied the score with 11:13 left, River went right down the field. Yandle took the ball toward the right corner, as four defenders advanced on her. She slid the ball across the circle, where Watahovich was waiting. Watahovich slapped the ball toward the left side of the goal, and the keeper dove for it. The ball bounced off her pads and skittered farther toward the left, where Watahovich deflected it in.

&uot;I don’t know what I was thinking, except that I had to get it in,&uot; she said. &uot;I had to get my back stick on it.&uot;

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After the first half ended scoreless, the Lady Warriors kept the ball in the Bridge end for most of the first 10 minutes of the second. At the 20-minute mark, the Lady Warriors got a corner stroke. The ball went out to Ashley Aston, who misplayed it as it went out of the circle. Aston caught up to the ball and passed to Amy Shinault on the right side of the circle. Shinault hit Yandle in the center, and Yandle reared back her stick. Instead of immediately bringing it back down, however, she raced across the circle toward the right side and then smacked in the goal.

Bridge tied things up, and Yandle and Watahovich put River ahead. Both teams missed on several scoring opportunities, culminating in a Bridge corner stroke with 25 seconds to play. As the Lady Warriors dug in on the goal line, the ball went to a Lady Wildcat, who hit a pass too hard and sent it out of bounds, giving River possession and the game.

&uot;It was stressful,&uot; said River goalkeeper Amber Shaffer. &uot;The game meant a lot to me.&uot;

For the third consecutive year, the Lady Warriors will face city-mate Lakeland in the district tournament, although, with the Lady Cavaliers’ regular-season title, both will still move on to regionals (the team that finishes second goes up as well). The championship will be Friday, and regionals will begin Tuesday, with Lakeland taking on Granby and River Maury. River handed the Lady Cavaliers their last regular-season loss in 2001-02.

&uot;We have to come out with our heads on,&uot; Shaffer said. &uot;We have to play 110, no, 120, wait, I mean, 150 percent!&uot;