Revenge gives Lady Warriors semifinal spot

Published 11:39 pm Monday, October 24, 2011

Nansemond River’s Sarah Lanthorn scored two of the three Lady Warrior goals as the Lady Warriors advanced past Indian River with a 3-1 victory in the first round of the Southeastern District Tournament Monday at Nansemond River. Nansemond River plays Grassfield in the semifinals Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the U.S. National Training Center in Virginia Beach.

Nansemond River’s field hockey team shouldn’t have needed a wake-up call from Indian River in the first round of the Southeastern District Tournament Monday afternoon.

After beating the Lady Warriors by a goal last Thursday, the Lady Braves jumped out on top with a goal less than six minutes into Monday’s do-or-die match at Nansemond River.

No. 3-seeded Nansemond River answered the alarm in a hurry. The Lady Warriors put three goals away in the next seven minutes and kept the No. 6 Lady Braves in check the rest of the way for a 3-1 victory and a spot in Wednesday’s district semifinals.

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Nansemond River’s intensity was clear from the start following Indian River’s 2-1 win on its home field last week. In the first four minutes, Shelbi Holloman blasted two hard drives toward the Lady Brave cage and the Lady Warriors earned a penalty corner.

Indian River turned the early pressure around though. The Lady Braves forced NR goalie Lindsey Hunter into a sliding save with her leg pads but got a corner called a few seconds later.

The Lady Braves kept the attacking coming and scored with their second shot on goal after the corner play wound up as lots of traffic inside the Lady Warrior arc.

A Nansemond River timeout immediately followed the Lady Brave goal.

“If you don’t want your season to end, right here on your home field, you better pick it up,” said NR head coach Ali Mowry about the message in the huddle.

Additional motivation from the coach worked.

Holloman continued racing from midfield into the attacking end of the field to create Lady Warrior scoring chances.

She dribbled into the arc and nailed a shot toward goal that deflected high toward the goal line. The ball wound up past every Indian River defender, plus the goalie, for Lanthorn to tap in, tying the match in the ninth minute.

The Lady Warriors turned a fine penalty corner play into another goal less than two minutes later.

Bates started the play passing to Holloman at the top of the arc. Holloman flipped a short pass to Mary Gover. Gover sent a hard shot toward the cage. Bates, now near the left post, batted in the rebound.

Lanthorn scored her second goal a couple minutes later, again being in the right spot for a tap-in finish into an empty goal. Holloman sprinted with the dribble down the right sideline and sent a hard cross toward the goal.

After Holloman’s ball was kicked away by the Lady Brave keeper, Bates passed across the goal to Lanthorn for the shot and a 3-1 Lady Warrior lead moments after the visitors seemingly put the Lady Warriors in danger.

“We pretty much just had to play our game. We had to fill in the gaps and not let (Indian River) play the long balls,” Mowry said.

“You have to give Indian River credit, too, because they’ve improved a lot,” Mowry said.

The Lady Warriors (11-5) advance to face No. 2 Grassfield at the U.S. National Training Center in Virginia Beach on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Grassfield beat Nansemond River 4-1 in NR’s second match of the season.

Indian River, Grassfield and Lakeland, the district’s season champs and likely finalist opponent for the Nansemond River vs. Grassfield winner, were the three teams to beat Nansemond River through the Southeastern regular season.

“We definitely want a chance at all three again,” Mowry said. “Our seniors, the whole team really, they’ve worked way too hard to give it up now.”