Lady Cavaliers put four past Ocean Lakes

Published 8:51 pm Saturday, September 19, 2009

VIRGINIA BEACH – Lakeland scored twice in each half, led by Jennifer Hedrick scoring once in each half, to defeat its third Beach District opponent of the season with an impressive 4-0 win over Ocean Lakes on Friday at the U.S. Field Hockey National Training Center.

Lakeland (8-1) had scored 38 in its eight matches this season entering Friday’s action, including a 21-0 margin in its last three matches, all Southeastern District ones, but head coach Tara Worley and the Lady Cavaliers felt their goal-scoring had been a weak point against tougher competition so far this season.

The Lady Cavs needed less than three minutes to get going against Ocean Lakes. From a long corner on the right sideline, Morgan McCaw and Kelsey Smither moved the ball into the Ocean Lakes arc.

Getting to the top of the arc, Smither took a shot that deflected off a Lady Dolphin foot and back to her. While everyone, on both teams, paused for a second waiting for a whistle for a penalty corner, the referee allowed Lakeland’s advantage to continue and Smither didn’t pause, sending a low shot just inside the left post for a goal 2:18 into the match.

“The first goal, it kind of was a confidence booster. It was big to prove to ourselves we could do it,” said Smither.

Lakeland continued controlling most of the possession and the attacking opportunities. It almost paid off again a few minutes after Smither’s goal. Smither and Taylor Young had dangerous shots on goal off a penalty corner.

In the 22nd minute, Kendell Combs and Kristin Buck set up Lakeland’s second goal with a quick counterattack through midfield. Combs dribbled into the arc, swung and missed at a backhanded shot attempt, then made contact on her second try, sending the ball across the face of the goal. The Ocean Lakes’ keeper got a piece of the ball, but Hedrick was there for the rebound and the goal.

The Lady Dolphins challenged Lakeland in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Lakeland keeper Marissa Betkowski came up with two outstanding saves and two more plays in which she made sliding saves to break up Ocean Lakes plays into the arc before they became shots. Betkowski finished with four saves on the day.

The Lady Cavaliers put the match out of reach with two more goals. In the 46th minute, a flurry of attacking finished with Smither getting a shot, then Combs getting a shot off a rebound, the Hedrick firing the ball into the cage off of Combs’ rebound.

Four minutes later, Lakeland scored its prettiest goal of the day. Smither dribbled from near the left sideline to the middle of the field and sent a hard drive into the arc from 25 yards from goal. Near the penalty stroke spot, Combs jabbed her stick at the pass and angled the ball about five feet off the ground and past the Ocean Lakes’ keeper.

“We’d made some adjustments as a team to help our offense. It was good to get up 2-0, then go to a different formation to help our defense and still score two more goals after that,” said Worley.

“This was a big win today. I knew it would be a tough game against a tough team and we worked really hard today,” said Worley.

“They’re a good team and they have great passing patterns, so we knew they were a tough team,” said Smither.

Lakeland returns to Southeastern District play for its next four matches. Indian River visits Lakeland on Wednesday for a 5 p.m. start.