Lady Bulldogs play through coach changes

Published 9:17 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2011

King’s Fork’s Megan McNamara winds up for a cross into the Southampton arc during Tuesday afternoon’s match at King’s Fork. The Lady Bulldogs won their next-to-last match of the season 3-0. The Lady Bulldogs host Nansemond River Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Despite a rough season, King’s Fork’s field hockey squad took a positive step with a 3-0 victory over visiting Southampton in the next-to-last match of the Lady Bulldog season Tuesday afternoon.

Heading into the season back in August, the Lady Bulldogs thought they had one major problem fixed, a problem that’s hurt the KF field hockey program from its earliest days.

The Lady Bulldogs opened the season under head coach Elena Nicholoff for the second straight season. It was the first season in at least the last five with a returning head coach for the Lady Bulldogs.

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Midway through the season, Nicholoff left the team for personal reasons.

JV head coach Katie Curran, herself new to the school and the Lady Bulldogs in August, took up the coaching duties for both varsity and junior varsity. Her first game, on short notice, was against defending state champion Lakeland.

On Tuesday, the Lady Bulldogs stormed Southampton’s end of the field for nearly the whole match. King’s Fork finished with a 17-1 advantage in shots on goal and a 15-1 margin in penalty corners.

Rachel Gist’s goal, poking home a deflected shot from teammate Holly Wilson, put the Lady Bulldogs ahead in the 13th minute after what could’ve already been two or three Lady Bulldog scores.

The Lady Bulldogs allowed Southampton to advance the ball into the KF half of the field only a few times in the first half. Southampton got a couple quick breaks into the Lady Bulldog arc in the second half. KF goalie Kayla Jones needed just one save in the 60 minutes.

One of KF’s many corners paid off for Gist’s second goal with about 12 minutes to play. Kristi Hashigami assisted and again, in lots of traffic directly in front of the Lady Indian cage, Gist found the ball and pushed it over the line.

The Lady Bulldogs made it 3-0 a few minutes later with Kana Hashigami driving in a shot off a pass by Nicolette Santora. Hashigami fired her shot from a narrow angle to the left of the goal, sending the shot in waist-high as it hit the net.

“It’s been a little rough for both teams,” Curran said.

“They’re (the varsity players) are still hopeful and still working hard, all the way to the end of the season. We’ve focused more on improving everyone’s own skills,” Curran said.

When Curran officially became both JV and varsity coach until the end of the season, all of the Lady Bulldogs met with Curran.

“Kristi (Hashigami), one of our captains, she stepped up and said she was going to keep playing to the end and make the most out of her time left playing for King’s Fork,” Curran said.

The Lady Bulldogs (2-9) finish their season hosting city rival Nansemond River Wednesday at 5 p.m.