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Nansemond River beats King’s Fork

The coach who won was unhappy and the coach who lost was upbeat. Such was the aftermath of the Nansemond River High field hockey team’s 3-0 defeat of visiting King’s Fork in a Southeastern District game Wednesday.

Nansemond River coach Darryl Yandle was disappointed with what he felt was the Warriors’ lack of intensity. Jessica Neblett, his Bulldogs’ counterpart, was excited to see her shorthanded team fight hard against a superior foe.

Yandle, the Warriors’ longtime bench boss, was worried that his team isn’t fully ready for its clash with crosstown rival and eight-time defending district champion Lakeland next week. Neblett, a former Nansemond River junior varsity coach, was pleased to see her current team show continued improvement despite playing with a lone substitute.

“At times we stand around and there’s a price to pay for that,” lamented Yandle, whose team faces Lakeland on Sept. 19 in Virginia Beach on the artificial turf of the former U.S. Field Hockey National Training Center. “We lose transition going towards the other team’s end and that costs us offensive chances. We’re going to have to play a whole lot better in our next game to have a shot.”

Neblett, who’s in her second year guiding King’s Fork’s fledgling program, has endured injuries and a senior starter quitting the team in recent days. But the Bulldogs are playing stronger defense and junior varsity callups Jennifer Humphrey and Beth Wehner have filled in with aplomb.

“When we play like that, I can’t be upset if we lose,” said Neblett, whose team dropped to 1-4 overall and 0-3 in district play. “Nansemond River had the majority of possession and I don’t know how many shots, but we gave them a good fight.”

Kayla Johnson had two goals Wednesday, including the first half’s lone tally, three minutes before halftime. The senior tipped in a Brittany Frame pass at the left post. Johnson scored again 10 minutes after intermission, tallying from the penalty stroke line after Breanne Lowe advanced the ball inside the arc.

Nansemond River’s Katie Celeste closed the scoring and struck for her first varsity goal with three minutes to play, deflecting in a Hannah Meinertzhagen drive that ended a 30-yard run deep into King’s Fork territory.

King’s Fork was 2-12-1 last season, including a 2-1 overtime setback to Nansemond River. The Warriors, 7-5 a year ago, improved to 4-0 overall and in district play with Wednesday’s result and have outscored their 2008 opponents by a combined 16-1.