Lady Cavs roll into SED final

Published 8:42 pm Wednesday, October 28, 2009

VIRGINIA BEACH – Top-seeded Lakeland scored four goals in a span of 3:56 to run away from Hickory with an 8-0 win and breeze into the championship match of the Southeastern District Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at the U.S. Field Hockey National Training Center.

The Lady Cavaliers were paced by Kendell Combs’ four goals. Combs scored the first three goals of the match and Lakeland led 6-0 by halftime. For the match, Lakeland outshot the Lady Hawks 33-0 and earned 18 penalty corners to zero by Hickory.

Lakeland capitalized on a corner in the seventh minute to get the only goal it needed. Megan Johnson put the ball in play. Morgan McCaw stopped the ball near the top of the Hickory arc, teeing it up for a hard, low shot by Combs that nailed the back of the cage just inside the left post.

The score remained 1-0 before Lakeland’s big run put the match out of reach.

“We had good ball movement, and good movement on and off the ball,” said Lakeland head coach Tara Worley.

“We’ve been working hard in practice to get good movement on, as well as off, the ball and that worked very well for us today,” said Worley, whose Lady Cavs will be going for their ninth straight district tournament title on Friday at 3 p.m. at the National Training Center.

In the 13th minute, Kelsey Smither dribbled into the Hickory arc moving to her right. A shot by Smither was deflected, but Brittany Milteer controlled the ball and passed toward the goal mouth where Combs quickly pushed a shot into the cage for her second goal.

Another penalty corner paid off 1:16 later with a drive by Smither getting deflected into the goal by Combs. Fifty seconds later, quick passing down the left sideline led to a cross by Kristin Buck and slick ball-handling in the arc by Jennifer Hedrick as she had to spin to get her shot on goal and score, making it 4-0 Lakeland.

In the 17th minute, Alyssa Chirico assisted Buck for a goal, making it four goals in four shots on goal. Six minutes later, Smither scored off an assist by Combs to round out the half’s scoring.

In the second half, Smither to Milteer to Combs led to a goal on a Lakeland corner in the 54th minute. Three minutes later, Hedrick scored her second goal off of Combs’ second assist of the day.

In the second semifinal, Western Branch defeated Nansemond River. In the regular season meeting at Lakeland, the Lady Cavaliers beat the Lady Bruins 2-0. It was the closest district contest of the season for Lakeland.

“We didn’t play either team (Western Branch or Nansemond River) on turf in the regular season,” said Worley before the second semifinal on Wednesday, “so I’m anxious to see what changes there will be because it’s such a different game on turf.”

Lakeland (16-1) has won 12 straight matches. Friday’s final is set for 3 p.m.