Lady Warriors top King’s Fork
Published 10:17 pm Thursday, April 14, 2016
Nansemond River High School’s girls’ soccer team got on the scoreboard early against host King’s Fork High School on the way to a 3-1 victory on Wednesday.
It was the first meeting between the cross-city rivals since the Lady Warriors defeated the Lady Bulldogs 3-2 in the Ironclad Conference tournament championship game last season.
The teams are no longer part of the same conference or even the same classification, but there was still life in the rivalry.
Email newsletter signup
All the scoring happened in the first 29 minutes of Wednesday’s game.
“I feel like the first half we played very well and stuck to our game plan,” Nansemond River coach Kurt Straub said.
He changed up his lineup slightly to account for the speed and effectiveness of King’s Fork junior Cydney Nichols, pulling speedy junior Daijah Norris from his forward line to guard her.
In Norris’ place up top, Straub put freshman Saleena Lynch, who quickly made an impact.
The coach said that about four minutes into the game, Lynch set up sophomore Indiah Hunter for a shot that led to what officials called an own goal.
About six minutes later, Hunter scored to make it 2-0.
Lady Bulldogs coach Mike Marston said, “I thought actually we played pretty well. We just made a few mistakes early in the game due to some inexperience that led to the first two goals.”
King’s Fork has a new goalkeeper this year, freshman Jordan Fransee, who has demonstrated strong potential.
“You’re going to have some growing pains, and with Jordan, the upside is really unlimited,” Marston said. “She’s one of the main reasons that we had a really good game against Grassfield (on Friday). She played fantastically.”
On Wednesday, “the first two goals were just completely different situations than she’s ever been in,” Marston said.
Around the 26-minute mark, Nansemond River sophomore Kayleigh McQueen put her team up 3-0 on the Lady Bulldogs.
“They cleared it out, and Kayleigh stepped up and popped it from about 30 yards,” Straub said.
Three minutes later, King’s Fork senior Logan Montel scored off of a corner kick.
Marston noted that with a few minutes remaining in the first half, the Lady Bulldogs appeared, to some, to have scored a second goal that was ultimately waved off because the referee on the sideline said she did not see the ball cross the line.
Though he figured there was too much traffic between her and the ball to clearly see what happened, he did not point to it as a call that determined the outcome of the game.
“We had plenty of opportunities,” he said.
In fact, he said, that after the Lady Warriors scored their third goal, King’s Fork essentially had them on their heels for the rest of the contest.
Straub said that in the second half, his team got away from its game plan.
“We haven’t played a complete game yet,” he said, but Nansemond River managed to improve to 5-1-1 with the win.
The Lady Warriors have benefited from McQueen elevating her game.
“This is her second goal in two games, and she’s a defender, so for her to step up like that, that shows I have some depth,” Straub said.
McQueen gave Nansemond River a 1-0 lead on Friday when it hosted Great Bridge High School. The Lady Wildcats evened the score, and after double overtime, the game finished in a 1-1 tie.
King’s Fork lost 2-1 to elite Grassfield on Friday, but Marston said it was probably the best game he has seen the Lady Bulldogs play against a high-level opponent.
Now 2-4, King’s Fork had key players nursing injuries early in the year.
“Even though the record is not what our record was last year, outside of the Western Branch game, I think that we’ve been playing better soccer than we did last year,” Marston said.
On Friday, the Lady Warriors visit Grassfield, and the Lady Bulldogs visit Oscar Smith High School.