Easy win for State champs

Published 10:02 pm Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dribbling: Lakeland’s Kristen Vick dribbles by an Indian River defender in the Lady Brave penalty arc during Wednesday’s match at Lakeland. Vick had two assists as Lakeland scored six goals in the first 23 minutes and went on to a 7-0 mercy-rule win in its season opener.

Even with a good number of new players on the field and the returning veterans now in new roles, Lakeland’s first match as the defending state field hockey champions looked a lot like one of last season’s victories.

The Lady Cavaliers scored six times in the first 23 minutes and rolled to a 7-0 mercy-rule win over visiting Indian River on Wednesday.

Sophomore forward Summer Parker scored a hat trick in the first 20 minutes of play and sophomore forward Kasey Smith tallied three as well, with two scored in the first half.

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“My concern coming in was goal scoring,” said Lakeland head coach Tara Worley.

“For the past three years, I knew who was going to score for us,” Worley said, referencing the eight seniors who departed with last year’s state crown and 24-0 record. Most notable as far as goals was Kendell Combs, who will be playing her first match with Virginia Commonwealth on Friday evening at Virginia.

“Who was going to pick that up? It was nice to see everyone firing. That was one nice thing to see today,” Worley said.

The Lady Cavaliers stole the ball one Indian River pass into the match and moved the ball sharply toward the Lady Brave cage. Lakeland put four shots on goal and earned two penalty corners in the first 0:50.

It took a few more minutes but on Lakeland’s fourth corner of the early going, Smith nailed a low drive from the top of the IR arc on goal. The Lady Brave keeper made a kick save on Smith’s drive. Parker, who passed the corner into play, was in front for the rebound and she poked it into the goal.

Smith continued getting open swings in the middle of the Indian River arc and continued making her shots count.

She drove a rebound from her own 12-yard blast into the cage for her first goal and a 2-0 Lakeland lead in the eighth minute.

Parker was in the right spot in front of goal again a few minutes later, volleying in a rebounded save after a hard drive on goal by Jamee Albright.

The Lady Cavaliers kept the sprinting and ball movement through midfield coming. Parker’s second tally was the first of four Lady Cavalier goals in just over seven minutes.

Gabrielle Wash scored with a long drive in from the left wing, with another assist credited to Albright, to make it 6-0 Lakeland.

Smith finished the scoring with a big slap shot, whistling the ball by the keeper from barely inside the arc in the 40th minute. A perfect pass by Wash set Smith up for the shot and completed 60 yards worth of quick ball movement, turning a rare Lady Brave trip into Lakeland’s half of the field into a chance to counterattack.

After last year’s senior-led team, Worley has nine sophomores and a freshman, starting goalkeeper Erin Bradshaw, on her 14-player roster this year.

Even with a 6-0 halftime lead, the speech at one end of the field during the break had many sharp points to it.

“We tell them, you have to get better every game. No matter who you’re playing you have to minimize mistakes and get better from the last time,” Worley said.

The Lady Cavaliers (1-0) have three straight district matches to start the season with a trip to Deep Creek on Wednesday up next.