Lackey field hockey blanked by Chopticon
Contest halted for lightning early in second half
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.”
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.