LHS field hockey improves

Published 8:10 pm Saturday, August 30, 2014

After a loss Monday that snapped a Southeastern District winning streak spanning 11 years, the Lakeland High School field hockey team returned to more familiar territory.

The Lady Cavs rebounded Wednesday with a 2-0 win over host Indian River High School and gave what coach Cortney Parker thought was their best performance yet Thursday against visiting Grafton High School, despite losing 1-0 in overtime.

“It’s a rebuilding year, and I see them rebuilding every game, so we’re going to get there,” Parker said.

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She said lack of confidence plagued the girls in Monday’s season opener against Great Bridge High School, but Wednesday was different.

“I think that they learned a lot from the Great Bridge game, how they had to come out with intensity,” Parker said. “They got that first varsity game out of the way. They weren’t as nervous and timid when they played. I think that had a lot to do with it.”

The Lady Cavs started connecting offensively, racking up 16 penalty corners, though finishing was still an issue.

Both of Lakeland’s goals came from sophomore Kendall Lewis, one in the first half and one in the second. They came on assists by sophomore Lexis Munford and junior Stasha Waterfield.

Pleased with Lewis’ improvement every game, Parker said, “She’s really working hard. She’s only a sophomore, never played a varsity game. She’s scored all of our goals so far,” also putting one in on Monday.

On Thursday, the Lady Cavs and Grafton kept each other off the scoreboard until 7:32 remaining in a 15-minute sudden-death overtime period.

“I actually feel like they played a better game than they did against Indian River, even though they lost,” Parker said.

She noted the Lady Clippers are a much better team than IR, but said her players “didn’t let that get in their heads. They fought right there with them.”

She praised the play of senior goalkeeper Erin Bradshaw, who was under fire from a Grafton team that had four penalty corners during regulation, but then piled up four more in overtime.

“She had a phenomenal game,” Parker said, citing Bradshaw’s 11 saves.

The coach also praised sophomore sweeper Haley Beale, who has consistently been a standout on defense.

“It’s almost like it came out of nowhere,” Parker said. “I was really impressed with her play the last three games.”

Lakeland’s new coach said the first week was a good experience, with the difficulties not unexpected, but she has been impressed by the Lady Cavs’ level of improvement during that time.

“From the way they played on Monday to (Thursday’s) game, it’s improved tenfold,” Parker said.

The Lady Cavaliers (1-2) host Oscar Smith High School on Wednesday.