Lady Warriors need just one

Published 9:37 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In a contest of teams that could see each other again in the Southeastern District field hockey tournament, or not if one of them comes up short of the tournament, Nansemond River’s Meghan Folden scored the match’s lone goal with 7:44 left in the second half to give the Lady Warriors a 1-0 win over visiting Hickory on Wednesday.

Traffic problems on I-64 coming from Chesapeake meant Hickory arrived nearly an hour after the scheduled start time and the final minutes were played in quickly-fading twilight and a definite autumn temperature.

Nansemond River staved off a few stretches of the game during which Hickory kept Nansemond River pinned in its own end, but the Lady Warrior attack made better use of its time in control and finished with an 8-4 advantage in shots.

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Nansemond River’s senior goalkeeper Stephanie Tarafas needed three saves and a couple hurried, kicked clearances in the last five minutes to get the shutout.

“We stepped up when we had to and we were lucky a couple times,” said Nansemond River head coach Darryl Yandle, “and of course, all year long, Stephanie’s kept us in games over and over again.”

Hickory dominated the first 15 minutes and earned the first six penalty corners of the match. The Hawks turned all that pressure into only two shots on goal though as the Lady Warrior defenders worked hard not to allow easy passes or open shots, even as nearly the whole match was being played within 40 yards of NR’s goal.

Shortly after a Hickory timeout at the 12:09 mark of the first half, Brittany Frame and Folden had NR’s first dangerous offensive chances. Frame and Folden got shots off of corners, but both hard drives were fired a little wide of the right post. After Hickory’s fast start, NR kept the whole game in the Hickory end for the last 10 minutes of the half.

NR nearly went ahead in the first minute of the second half. Loren Daubenspeck and Perri Holloman were in position to get to a rebound after a shot on goal, but a foul against the Lady Warriors stopped the play as the ball was loose in front of the Hickory cage.

With about 20 minutes to play, Tarafas and the Lady Warriors had to turn away three straight Hickory penalty corners. At that point, Hickory had a 9-3 advantage in corners. The match ended with the Lady Warriors having a 10-9 margin in that stat and the final one of NR’s 10 corners was the difference.

On the same type of play that was nearly good for a goal twice in the first half, Shelby Holloman passed to the top of the arc, Hannah Meinertzhagen stopped and set up the ball for Folden to blast a shot into the back of the Hickory goal.

Now down 1-0, Hickory pushed forward for a tying goal, but there was nothing as dangerous from Hickory as in the early stages of the game. The closest the Lady Hawks came was forcing Tarafas to come off her goal line to kick away long Hickory passes.

Nansemond River (8-2, 5-1) goes out of the district for its next match, hosting Grafton on Monday at 4 p.m.