Lakeland wins one more field hockey award

Published 3:52 pm Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lakeland’s field hockey team came up just short of the state championship earlier this week, and there will be many more individual awards still to come for some of the Lady Cavalier players who led Lakeland to its first-ever state tournament season, but Lakeland took home a major team award on Tuesday during the final night of the field hockey season.

Lakeland won the VHSL (Virginia High School League) State Sportsmanship Award in Group AAA.

The annual award is meant to be much more than a consolation prize or a good participation medal.

“Of course, every school wants to win the state championship and that’s the highest athletic achievement, but in a way, the biggest winners are the teams that win the sportsmanship award,” said VHSL spokesperson Mike McCall.

At each state tournament, a committee watches all the games with specific criteria in mind.

“They are watching the athletes, coaches, fans, student section and overall attitude. They evaluate everything and they are looking at and grading certain criteria. Of course, good sportsmanship is first and foremost,” said McCall.

“I am so proud of them (my players). We didn’t bring home the big one, but I would consider this the next best thing,” said Lakeland head coach Tara Worley.

The Lady Cavaliers finished the season with a 20-3 record, their 10th straight regular season title in the Southeastern District and their ninth straight district tournament championship. Lakeland lost to Mountain View in the state semifinals on Monday night, with Mountain View scoring in the final minute of the second half for a 2-1 victory.

“We place great emphasis on the award,” said McCall, “we see it as every bit of an achievement as winning the championship is.”