Lady Bulldogs set new standard

Published 12:24 am Saturday, October 24, 2009

King’s Fork’s two Suffolk rivals are both headed on into the field hockey postseason while KF’s season came to a close Thursday afternoon, but the Lady Bulldogs have plenty to be proud of and plenty to build on.

Under first-year head coach Mollie Turner, the Lady Bulldogs blew away their program records for overall wins and Southeastern District wins, all while going through far more than their fair share of drama.

Despite a 6-0 loss to Western Branch on Thursday, the Lady Bruins enter next week’s district tournament as the No. 2 seed behind Lakeland, King’s Fork finishes with seven victories (7-8-1) overall and three district wins (3-6). Three wins overall had been the school record prior to this, KF’s sixth season.

Seven Lady Bulldog seniors played their final game on Thursday: Ashley Carter, Stephanie Livingston, Rachael Fiel, Shawnda Lee, Beth Wehner, Melissa Bozyazko and Brandy Webb.

Turner guided the team through a number of injuries throughout the season and a rash of the flu that sidelined some players and forced a couple other players to play through it recently. And about four weeks ago, the team was both lucky and unlucky to be in a bus accident just south of the James River Bridge during a rainy night following a match in Newport News.

Eleven players went to the hospital immediately after the accident with varying degrees of injuries and the team didn’t play for about a week after the accident.

Once back in action though, the Lady Bulldogs had their best stretch of the season, winning three out of four matches. In that streak was a remarkable comeback, with two KF goals in the last four minutes for a 3-2 win over district opponent Oscar Smith, and a Senior Day win, 3-1 over Heritage.

“Of course every coach likes to win, but this season, in some ways, we really haven’t cared about our record,” said Turner.

“I’ve had seniors telling me this is the best year they’ve ever played, and they’ve all played field hockey for four to eight or more years. Plus, that’s with the season sort of being against all odds and having a lot of things thrown in there,” said Turner.