Big starts for former Lady Cavs

Published 12:32 am Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Old Dominion opened its field hockey season upsetting No. 8-ranked Penn State 5-2 and No. 10 American 4-1 on Friday and Sunday respectively in Charlottesville.

The Lady Monarchs, ranked No. 12 in the nation, were supposed to start their season at home before Irene moved in. The University of Virginia hosted the matches.

Freshman midfielder/defender Kelsey Smither (Lakeland) started in her debut at the college level against the Lady Nittany Lions. Smither scored her first ODU goal in the first half against American.

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The Lady Monarchs led PSU 3-0 by halftime and 4-0 two minutes into the second half. ODU finished with a 17-4 advantage in shots against Penn St.

Smither scored to give ODU a 2-0 lead over American 12:35 into Sunday’s match, driving on the dribble into the American arc and scoring an unassisted goal.

ODU increases the competitive level even more this weekend. The Lady Monarchs host defending national champion Maryland on Friday at 5 p.m. and No. 3 Virginia on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth freshman Kendell Combs (Lakeland) scored two goals in her second collegiate match as the Lady Rams split two matches in their first action of the season.

VCU lost 8-1 at Virginia Friday and rebounded for a 4-1 win over Appalachian State on Sunday in Richmond.

Combs struck twice in the first eight minutes against ASU. She stole a pass, then combined with Emilie Soares on a give-and-go before finishing the goal for a 1-0 VCU lead. Combs converted a penalty corner play to make it 2-0.

“Kendell’s got a ton of potential and we really saw that today from start to finish,” said VCU head coach Kelly McQuade.

“She’s got a chance to be a really special player for us,” McQuade said.

The Lady Rams travel to Chicago for a pair of games at Northwestern, first against Northwestern on Friday then against Albany on Saturday.