Lady Warriors keep district hopes alive

Published 8:57 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nansemond River High School girls’ soccer coach Darryl Yandle talks to his team during halftime of the Lady Warriors’ game against Kings Fork recently. Yandle and his team have had to fight their way past the problems caused by a rash of injuries this year.

By Titus Mohler
Correspondent

This season, the Nansemond River varsity girls’ soccer squad has been hampered by injuries, but team members still have designs on the district tournament.

While the Lady Warriors are at 5-7, head coach Darryl Yandle had very different expectations coming into the season.

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“It seems like every year injuries just devastate my team,” he said. “I was hoping to make the top two or three in the district, at least.”

Yandle indicated that there have been concussions and other injuries all season, but one in particular has most affected the team.

“I have a player who blew out her knee at the beginning of the season that I feel strongly is something like Division I (caliber),” Yandle said.

He was referring to defender Sara Gallagher.

“The thing was,” he said, “this year I’m strong enough in defense, I would have been able to move her up to mid-field and that would have been really, really valuable.”

Senior Jordan Morris and freshman Desiree Patterson also are out of commission. Like Sara, who is a junior, they would all be starters.

Still, Yandle is pleased with the team’s performance and spotlighted a couple of players who have been contributing. The first was senior Megan Proffit.

“She’s got quite a few goals,” he said. “She plays mid-field and forward, depending on who we play and whether I can move her up or not.”

On the other end of the field, Yandle mentioned a starring junior.

“Taylor Flick has really stepped up this year for defense and (is) doing a very good job,” he said.

Yandle was actually hesitant to mention anyone in particular for a reason any coach would love to have.

“I hate to talk about too many, because I’ve got a fairly solid team, well-rounded,” he said.

When it came to listing areas of needed improvement, he identified a couple, but still felt positive overall.

“We do most things fairly decent,” Yandle said. “I guess just gel as a team as far as (playing) anticipation soccer instead of reaction soccer.”

He also indicated that the team would benefit from a stronger offensive attack, since players have not scored an abundance of goals this season.

Of the games played this season, none has been more important than the contest against Indian River.

“The Indian River win was a very good win,” Yandle said.

Here’s why: The top six teams in the district advance to the district tournament. The rivals that could ordinarily block them from advancing are Grassfield, Hickory, Great Bridge, Western Branch, Oscar Smith, and Indian River, leaving Nansemond River in seventh.

“We’ve already beat one of them, so unless we lose games we shouldn’t, we’re in the top six all because we beat Indian River,” he said. “We want to beat Oscar Smith. Even with the players out and whatnot, we have the ability to beat Oscar Smith, but they’re a good team.”

Ultimately, Yandle expects to make the top six.

“If I can make the top four, that would be icing on the cake,” he said. “That would mean a victory over Oscar Smith and Great Bridge or Western Branch. We’d have to play very, very well. There’s so many of these games that we had to play very, very well. Injuries, injuries.”

But the Lady Warriors are still alive in the Southeast.