Lady Warriors edge Hickory

Published 9:35 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nansemond River midfielder Jordan Morris attacks during NR’s 2-1 win over Hickory Wednesday at Nansemond River. The Lady Warriors improve to a 3-1 overall record with the win.

Nansemond River struck for two goals three minutes apart in the second half and survived flurries of Hickory attacking in the final few minutes earning an important Southeastern District field hockey win, with a 2-1 score, Wednesday on the Lady Warrior home field.

The Lady Warriors and Lady Hawks battled for 45 scoreless minutes until Shelbi Holloman gave Nansemond River the lead with a bit more than 15 minutes to play.

Moments later on a Lady Warrior penalty corner play, Holloman’s pass set up Mary Gover. Gover’s first shot at goal was knocked down, only for Gover’s second shot to get deflected and find the back of the cage for a 2-0 NR lead with 12:02 to play.

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Following a win over Western Branch, last year’s runner-up in the district, in the opening match of the season, the Lady Warriors dropped a match at Grassfield last week. Hickory beat Grassfield 4-2 in its first district match.

While Nansemond River (3-1, 2-1) rebounded with a non-district overtime win at Lafayette on Friday, dropping back-to-back district contests this early in the season would’ve put the Lady Warriors in a tough situation.

“It’s definitely a huge win for us,” said Nansemond River head coach Ali Mowry.

“This is a big game for us. We learned a little bit from the Grassfield game. Mainly, that loss was about simply having zero effort from us. We turned it around in practice after that,” Mowry said.

The Lady Warriors took a positive step in the effort category in an overtime win against Lafayette Friday. Beating Hickory is another sign of improvement, Mowry said.

Nansemond River had a couple chances in the opening minutes. Hickory forced more of the game into NR’s defensive end as the half moved on.

Hickory finished the half with a 6-3 edge in shots, including forcing Lady Warrior goalie Lindsey Hunter into a quick reaction save from a point-blank shot eight minutes before halftime.

The Lady Hawks forced two threatening scrums a couple yards in front of the Lady Warrior goal line early in the second half. Hunter came up with saves amongst lots of scrambling in each one.

Hunter finished with eight saves and if not for her play, by the time Holloman put the Lady Warriors on the board, it could’ve been a goal to cut into Hickory’s advantage.

With a Lady Warrior free hit coming up deep in Hickory’s half of the field, Mowry called a timeout with 15:56 showing. The ensuing play wasn’t exactly as she drew it up but the result was perfect.

Hickory initially cleared the ball toward midfield. Gover regained the ball for the Lady Warriors and drew a foul 30 yards from goal. From the restart, Emily Carson assisted to Holloman who drove the ball in from near the penalty spot.

Three minutes later, the Lady Warriors ran a fine set play from a penalty corner. Holloman passed across the top of the Hickory arc to Gover. Gover’s second shot at goal deflected by the keeper for an unassisted goal.

The Lady Warriors needed the insurance as the Lady Hawks got one goal back with 10:36 remaining.

Hickory kept the attacking going for most of the last 10 minutes. The Lady Hawks earned two penalty corners in the last 1:00.

Holloman took a hard shot into her side on the first before another whistle against the Lady Warriors.

Erica Dover saved the lead on the last Hickory corner, batting away an ankle-high drive just in front of the goal line. The Lady Warriors scrambled the ball out of the arc for the last few seconds to tick off.

“I thought our pressure was good, but we weren’t connecting our passes like we need to in the first half. We talked at halftime and did a better job not just hitting the ball, but finding open teammates, and not wasting our possession,” Mowry said.

“We have Great Bridge on Wednesday. It’s another big one. It seems like it never ends,” Mowry said.

While not in district play, the Lady Warriors will be in an invitational tournament at York High School on Friday and Saturday. Nansemond River plays at Great Bridge on Wednesday.