Lackey field hockey blanked by Chop­ti­con

Con­test halted for light­ning early in sec­ond half

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

In the ab­bre­vi­ated South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence sea­son opener for both teams on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, the Chop­ti­con High School field hockey team made quick work of host Lackey, 4-0.

Echoes of thun­der served as a back­drop through­out half­time and as the play­ers be­gan to make their way back onto the field for the sec­ond half, rain­drops pro­vided a re­fresh­ing re­lief to the hot, muggy con­di­tions. But they also sig­ni­fied that storms were im­mi­nent and within five min­utes of play in the sec­ond half the game was halted for light­ning and never re­sumed as rains in­ten­si­fied.

Chop­ti­con (1-0 over­all) dom­i­nated play through­out the first half with a pair of goals from Bella Lehr and one each from Syd­ney Mushrush and Sarah Hud­son. While Braves goalie Blayre Val­land­ing­ham never faced a shot on goal, Lackey ju­nior goalie Katie Wil­lett recorded nine saves in the first half.

“Katie was the star for us out there to­day,” Lackey fifth-year head coach Sa­man­tha DeNardo said. “She made a lot of great saves for us to­day. She was keep­ing us in the game. We have a re­ally young team this year and this is def­i­nitely a re­build­ing year for us. They’ll keep get­ting bet­ter and we’ll be ready for McDonough [a home game sched­uled for 5 p.m. to­day].”

Chop­ti­con play­ers and coaches quickly headed to the bus once the game was halted and deemed of­fi­cial since over one half of the con­test was com­pleted.

“I thought we did a good job con­trol­ling play,” said Braves head coach Anne Val­land­ing­ham, whose team is sched­uled to be at St. Mary’s Ryken at 5:30 p.m. to­day. “We dom­i­nated the game. Lackey has a young team this year. We set our goals for this sea­son and now we’ll hope to reach them. To­day was a good start. I thought the girls played well to­day.”

Chop­ti­con was clearly the more ag­gres­sive and more ef­fi­cient team from the open­ing whis­tle and made life mis­er­able for Wil­lett through­out the first half. Less than three min­utes into the game, Mushrush scored first af­ter Wil­lett had al­ready recorded two saves.

“It was good to get that first goal,” Mushrush said. “I was just look­ing to do any­thing to help my team. I thought we com­mu­ni­cated well in the first half. We talked to each other. Ev­ery­body played their po­si­tions well. I think we just want to go out there and win as many games as we can this year.”

Wil­lett was forced to make three saves be­fore fi­nally yield­ing a goal to Lehr with 17 min­utes 15 sec­onds re­main­ing in the first half. Five min­utes later, again af­ter Wil­lett made two more tough kick saves, Lehr notched her sec­ond goal of the day to ex­tend the Braves’ lead to 3-0.

“I know we have a lot of new play­ers and we knew Chop­ti­con was go­ing to be one of our tough­est op­po­nents,” said Wil­lett, who also plays girls lacrosse in the spring and sports a 4.25 GPA. “I do what I can to sup­port my team­mates on de­fense and I knew they’re there for me. It was a tough game, but I think we were play­ing much bet­ter in the sec­ond half.”

With rum­bles of thun­der be­com­ing louder and more fre­quent, Hud­son got on the board when she scored off an as­sist from Han­nah Val­land­ing­ham to make it 4-0 with just over six min­utes left in the half. Chop­ti­con con­tin­ued to ap­ply se­ri­ous pres­sure to the Charg­ers (0-1) in the late stages of the half, forc­ing Wil­lett to make two more saves.

“It’s al­ways great to get that first goal,” Lehr said. “It lets the other team know that we’re there to play and we mean busi­ness. My two goals af­ter that we kind of a blur. They both hap­pened so fast. But we have set some high goals for the team this year. We would like to play in the SMAC cham­pi­onship and get a re­gion ti­tle and get to states.”

STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK

Lackey sopho­more mid­fielder Jenna Clark drives the ball up­field in her team’s game against vis­it­ing Chop­ti­con on Wed­nes­day. Chop­ti­con pre­vailed 4-0 in a game halted by light­ning five min­utes into the sec­ond half.

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