NRHS girls’ soccer affirms No. 1 seeding

Published 9:18 pm Saturday, May 31, 2014

Nothing seemed to be trending in the favor of the No. 1 Nansemond River High School girls’ soccer team as it entered the Ironclad Conference tournament championship game on Friday night at Christopher Newport University.

The No. 1 Lady Warriors had a major injury, they were coming off a weak win the night before and they were facing a dangerous No. 2 King’s Fork High School team seemingly poised to beat them. But they turned all that on its head with a 3-2 victory.

King's Fork High School sophomore Emma Marston, left, and Nansemond River High School sophomore Cali Valdivieso compete during Friday's tight conference tournament championship game at Christopher Newport University. The Lady Warriors earned the win, 3-2. (Carolina LaMagna photo)

King’s Fork High School sophomore Emma Marston, left, and Nansemond River High School sophomore Cali Valdivieso compete during Friday’s tight conference tournament championship game at Christopher Newport University. The Lady Warriors earned the win, 3-2. (Carolina LaMagna photo)

“I am just tickled pink,” Nansemond River head coach Darryl Yandle said. “I’m extremely excited. I’m glad we got back on track.”

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The night before, his team scored a 1-0 win over No. 4 Phoebus High School that Yandle said was discouraging because his team did not play well.

Observing the Lady Warriors on Friday, KF head coach Jason Stump said, “I felt like you could see that Nansemond was almost down as they showed up.”

Nansemond River was also playing without senior Cassidy Feldt, out for the season with an injury. She was a defensive key to her team’s 3-2 overtime victory over King’s Fork earlier in the season, which included a controversial call that some thought unfairly favored the Lady Warriors.

Meanwhile, the upstart Lady Bulldogs went on to have their best season ever and were hungry to beat Nansemond River.

“I’m not sure the title meant as much to the girls as the win,” Stump said.

Yandle said, “I knew that we had to play well to have a chance, and we played extremely well.”

Nansemond River sophomore Kendall Webster put the game’s first goal on the board, helping bring her team to life.

“Nansemond was absolutely at their best last night, and that’s what you bring to a championship game,” Stump said on Saturday.

King’s Fork freshman Cydney Nichols responded minutes later with a goal, but the Lady Bulldogs offense struggled.

“The first game, our plan was to stop Nichols, but King’s Fork has two very strong midfielders,” Yandle said, referring to freshman Becca Washburn and sophomore Logan Montel.

On Friday, senior Dawn Wright and sophomore Claire Janek were tasked with guarding Washburn and Montel for most of the game, limiting the KF girls’ ability to send through passes to their forwards.

Senior Emily Leverone took Feldt’s place at stopper and provided strong defense, as did freshman Starr Robinson, when relieving Leverone.

Nichols gave King’s Fork a 2-1 lead in the second half, but NR freshman Daijah Norris quickly made it 2-2.

Webster broke the tie with five minutes remaining.

“Both of Kendall’s goals were on headers from corners,” Yandle said.

Stump said Yandle had shared that Nansemond River has never lost to a Suffolk opponent in girls’ soccer. But with respect, Stump said, “That day is coming.”

In Monday’s regional quarterfinals, Nansemond River (11-5) hosts Deep Creek High School and King’s Fork (11-4-1) visits Woodrow Wilson High School.