Lady Cavs ready to compete

Published 7:25 pm Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Lakeland High School field hockey team is back in action for 2017 and is looking forward to a strong season.

Lakeland possesses one of the stronger field hockey teams not only in Suffolk but in the entire Southeastern District. It is a compliment to how talented and consistent the Lady Cavs are each year. Lakeland is the smallest school in the district but always remain a competitive bunch in field hockey. The players know the standard upheld for the success of Lakeland field hockey every year, and this year will be no different.

After finishing the season 9-8 last year, the Lady Cavs are hoping to improve on that this season. Their season ended after a 4-1 loss to York High School in the Conference 27 tournament. Lakeland coach Cortney Parker feels confident about what she has returned this season. Last year she felt like Lakeland had somewhat of a rebuilding year after graduating six seniors the year prior. This year, the Lady Cavs will be without four seniors who graduated last year. Two of those seniors, Kaylene Thomas and Kendall Lewis, have gone on to play in college this year.

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“I’m really excited about this year’s team,” she said. “We have a good core group that is returning. We have a lot of experience returning, so that will be good for us.”

Lakeland will return nine players this season, six being juniors and the other three being seniors. Of the returners, juniors Sydney Beale and Allison Thompson look to help lead the way. Alex Kinsey, a senior, will also be a part of a core group looking to get better this season.

Parker believes this team can be as competitive as they were last season. She believes last season left a bitter taste in the returners’ mouths. There were games Lakeland felt they had last year but couldn’t finish. This year, Parker wants to put an emphasis on finishing games, especially against bigger schools.

“Some of those close games from last year are still sticking to them,” Parker said. “They’re ready to come out and score some goals. We want to be a strong second-half team. We want to be as strong in the second half this year than we are in the first. Our big thing is scoring goals this year.”

LHS had its first scrimmage of the year last Thursday when the team took on Grafton High School. The game ended in a 0-0 stalemate. The outcome of the game wasn’t that big of a deal to Parker as she wanted to move players around and see what the best fits were for the team. Parker felt like her team was in a good spot, especially having practiced for only a week and a half.

“For the first time playing as a whole team we played really well and had plenty of scoring opportunities,” Beale said. “It was a tough game, but we held out. It did show us things we have to improve on.”

Parker likes the way her team came back refreshed after its summer break. Most of the players played with their club teams during the summer, so they came in prepared.

Lakeland will have another scrimmage against Lafayette High School Tuesday before starting the regular season on Aug. 23 on the road against Hickory High School.