LHS catches fire against Hickory

Published 10:35 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Five games into the 2013 season, the Lakeland High School field hockey team had only been scored on once and had never trailed in a game. That changed on Monday when Hickory High School shocked the Lady Cavaliers by striking first, 10 minutes into the game.

Then, Lakeland came alive, responding with a string of unanswered goals and a new milestone by senior forward Summer Parker to win 4-1 at the U.S. Field Hockey National Training Center in Virginia Beach.

Lady Cavs head coach Tara Worley has been a vocal presence on the sideline of as late because of her frustration with her team’s lack of intensity and attention to the fundamentals. She took a different approach on Monday when her team found itself behind.

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“When (Hickory) scored, I just kind of stood back and waited to see how they responded, and they took it up a level,” she said.

Lakeland’s reply came a mere minute and a half later. The team had been getting scoring chances all game, but did not finish until this point, when senior back Kasey Smith scored off an assist from senior midfielder Kristen Vick.

Senior forward Summer Parker scored the other three goals to give her a career total of 110, the most by a single player in Lakeland High School history. It surpasses the 109 tally achieved by Kendell Combs, a star forward from the 2010 state championship team and currently a junior forward playing for Virginia Commonwealth University.

Smith and Vick each assisted one of Parker’s goals.

With the 2013 season not even halfway over, Parker has ample opportunity to produce a goal total that could last for some time.

Worley was pleased with her performance, though she admitted she saw Smith as the biggest standout of the day.

“She was shutting (Hickory) down defensively again and again and literally restarting (our) offensive attack,” she said.

Vick and seniors Jamee and Alexis Albright drew their coach’s praise for finding and putting the ball in open space.

Discussing the broader reason why her team has lacked intensity until now, Worley said, “They honestly haven’t really been challenged to this point, and it’s really hard to get a team to play above the competition’s level. You usually play just hard enough to win.”

She knew to reach the lofty goals the team has set for itself this season, it would have to improve, and “so it was just really nice to see them respond in a manner and really kick it up a notch, to the level that I know they can play.”

Monday’s game was Lakeland’s first regular season match-up on turf, and Worley said it was “heaven on earth. We’re just a better team on turf. I think true skills come out (on turf).”

The Lady Cavaliers (6-0, 2-0) will return to the U.S. Field Hockey National Training Center this evening at 6:30 p.m. to face Western Branch High School.