Cavaliers take championship

Published 10:08 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Lakeland field hockey team celebrates on the turf where they had just won the Southeastern District tournament championship for the 12th consecutive year. They defeated Grassfield 5-0 in the game which took place on Friday at the U.S. Field Hockey National Training Center. Pictured are, bottom from left, Summer Parker, Jessie Cox, Erin Bradshaw, Kelsey O’Leary and Kasey Smith; second row from left, Alexis Albright, Morgan Fenton, Kristen Vick, Ashley Heuberger and Kiersten King; third row from left, Megan Smith, Shannon Leonard, Heather Heuberger, Kendell Lewis, Elizabeth Campbell, Stasha Waterfield and Jamee Albright; and top from left, Assistant Couch Paul McClenney and Coach Tara Worley.

The Lakeland High School Lady Cavaliers continued their impressive 2012 run by winning the Southeastern District tournament championship for the 12th consecutive year on Friday. They defeated Grassfield 5-0 at the U.S. Field Hockey National Training Center.

“I thought that we played well,” Lakeland head coach Tara Worley said. “Grassfield played us really hard. I thought that we handled that and stuck to our game plan and were able to execute and win.”

Juniors Summer Parker and Kristen Vick scored in the first half. Then, Parker led off the second half scoring with a penalty stroke after a Grassfield defender blocked a would-be Lakeland goal with her foot.

Email newsletter signup

Juniors Kasey Smith and Alexis Albright scored later in the half as well. Smith had three assists, and Parker had one.

Lakeland took 13 penalty corners compared to Grassfield’s seven and also had 26 shots on goal to Grassfield’s three.

“We controlled most of the game,” Worley said. “We had a lot of shots. If there was anything we could have done better in that, (it) would be to connect on some of those (shots). I think we missed some opportunities, but that’s going to happen in a game. We just kept shooting and like I said, we were able to come out with a win.”

Worley spoke to her satisfaction in the team’s impressive run over the past decade, but also a desire to be more than simply competitive at the higher levels.

“As a coach, I think from day one that I started, I am one of the most competitive people that you’ll ever meet, and so I did everything in my power from the very beginning to get my kids to a higher level,” she said. “We are definitely competing at the highest level in the state on a consistent basis, and that makes me proud, but my competitiveness doesn’t allow me to settle in that.”

Except for 2010, Lakeland has been defeated at regionals by a Beach District team for the past 11 years. Five times in that span, including last year, that Beach District team has been Cox, which they face today.

But Lakeland has broken new ground with Cox this season. The previous meeting on Sept. 21 was scoreless until, with four and a half minutes remaining in the game, Parker hit in the winning goal. This was Lakeland’s first win over Cox.

“It was just a battle, just an all-out battle,” Worley described.

She does not expect today’s meeting to be any different.

“We are very evenly matched with Cox, in my opinion,” she said last night. “I feel like tomorrow is going to be about who makes the least amount of mistakes, who turns the ball over the least, and who capitalizes on opportunities.”

Though originally scheduled for Tuesday, Lakeland’s regional opener was delayed by Hurricane Sandy until noon today at the U.S. Field Hockey National Training Center.