Lakeland girls continue their streak

Published 10:59 pm Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lakeland's Summer Parker makes a diving shot to score against Nansemond River during the Lady Cavaliers' 10-1 win on Wednesday night at the U.S. Field Hockey National Training Center.

The Lakeland Lady Cavaliers field hockey team continued another dominant season by defeating Nansemond River 10-1 on Wednesday night at the U.S. Field Hockey National Training Center in Virginia Beach.

Lakeland (9-0) struck early, taking a 3-0 lead five and a half minutes into the game on goals from juniors Jessie Cox, Kasey Smith and Summer Parker.

Lady Cavaliers coach Tara Worley saw this game as a test for her girls, since it was the first match after a brief layoff in the season.

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“We wanted to come out here and make sure that we started where we left off, and we far exceeded that,” she said. “I’m extremely pleased with where we are. I’m hopeful that it continues to get even better.”

Nansemond River (2-5-2) got on the board for its only score with 23:07 remaining in the first half. Junior Madison Janek made the shot on an assist from senior Shelbi Holloman. For the Lady Warriors, it was one of the few positives in a game that Lakeland led 8-1 by halftime.

“I think they were winning most of the 50-50 balls,” NR coach Ali Mowry said of Lakeland. “And they did a great job of spreading the field.”

Summer Parker finished with four goals and an assist and had a glowing appraisal of her team’s performance.

“Probably one of our top games,” she said, “especially connecting together and playing as a team.”

“I felt like I was open a lot, and that goes with staying spread out,” Parker said.

Jamee Albright scored a hat trick to go with an assist and gave the credit to her teammates for excellent field awareness.

“It was our teammates actually looking for us and finding us and knowing where we were before they got the ball — that’s key,” she said.

Kasey Smith also had three assists, and Alexis Albright had a goal and assisted her twin sister twice.

The game was called with 14:52 remaining in the second half due to the slaughter rule, the same way all of Lakeland’s district games this season have ended.

Lakeland is once again the favorite to win the district, a circumstance that means the team must guard against overconfidence.

The Lady Cavaliers fell in the semifinals of the regional tournament last year, but they lost only two seniors to graduation and are poised to make another long run.

“In the past, sometimes we’ve had one really great player and then some good players in between,” Worley said. “And now I don’t have that one standout; instead I have a field full of solid, great players. I feel blessed.”

Additionally, 10 of the 15 players on the roster are only juniors, giving the team even more time to grow.

Nansemond River’s record is far from sterling, but Coach Mowry warns not to be deceived by it.

“I think overall our effort has been great during these games,” she said. “We’re trying to just work on finishing out … and just making sure we’re giving that 60 minutes, everything, a hundred percent.”

She identified mid-fielder Holloman as one of her standouts. Defensively, she counts on junior back Madison Janek, senior back Taylor Flick, and senior goalie Lindsey Hunter.

“And then also I’ve been really impressed by the four freshmen that I have,” Mowry said. “All four of them bring a new energy to the team and just with their effort.”

Jaclyn Mounie, Claire Janek and Katelynn Hodgkiss have been starting, while Cali Valdivieso has been contributing as well.

Mowry still hopes to win out the rest of the season and make a good run through the district playoffs, even potentially earning a shot at regionals.

Nansemond River takes on Indian River next Wednesday at home, and Lakeland plays Cox on Friday at the U.S. Field Hockey National Training Center.