Sluggish NR recovers for OT win

Published 11:40 pm Saturday, October 10, 2015

The statistics seem to say that the Nansemond River High School field hockey team was rarely at an advantage against host Menchville High School on Thursday, but the Lady Warriors emerged victorious, winning 2-1 in overtime.

“We capitalized on the few chances that we did have,” Nansemond River coach Ali Mowry said.

The Lady Warriors had three offensive penalty corners compared to Menchville’s 20, and they found themselves in a 1-0 hole at halftime.

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Mowry was displeased with her team’s lack of speed and aggressiveness.

“We can’t come out that slow in these conference games that we have left in the season,” she said. “The second half team that showed up was different.”

In the second half, Nansemond River showed better speed. Mowry said she thought her team’s poor first half play made the game unnecessarily close, “but Menchville had a better team than I think we assumed.”

Senior midfielder/forward Jaclyn Mounie scored with 23:02 remaining in regulation, assisted by sophomore forward Ashlyn Rogers.

With 6:55 left in the overtime session, Rogers put in the winning goal off an assist by senior midfielder Ashley Hiltabrand.

Mowry noted that one thing that contributed to Menchville’s success was the high positioning of their forwards.

“It was spreading our defense out so when we did get the ball, when we had turnovers, we just weren’t connecting because we were so far apart from each other,” she said.

At halftime, she bridged the gap by shifting her offside midfielder back, which was either freshman Sarah Rhiel or Hiltabrand.

When identifying the deciding factor in the game, Mowry pointed to her senior goalkeeper.

“Alex Wilde had her best game of the season so far,” she said, adding that Wilde kept the Lady Warriors in the game. “We have her down for 15 saves, three field saves and one block, so 19 total.”

Despite the largely sluggish first half for Nansemond River’s players, Mowry said, “I thought that Avanna Williams stood out.”

The Lady Warriors senior hustled at her right outside back position, the coach said.

Mowry praised the second half play of senior back Cali Valdivieso and junior back Victoria Czuprynski because they made key defensive saves where the game could have gone the opposite way for NR.

“I know they at least each had one,” she said.

Thursday’s win was the second victory the Lady Warriors have achieved this season in Conference 10, their new conference since moving up to the Virginia High School League’s Group 5A classification to start the 2015-16 season.

Nansemond River (9-2, 2-0) hosts Hampton High School on Monday and then hosts a conference game against Kecoughtan High School on Wednesday, which will be Senior Night for the Lady Warriors.