Prince George (12-4)
Heading into the Conference 12 playoffs in 2014, Prince George was riding high. They were young, the top seed in the tournament and had played a tough schedule very well.
Then they got upset by Matoaca in the first round. Their season was over. A refocused Royals team didn’t succumb to the same fate in 2015, as they defeated Highland Springs to advance to 5A South Regionals, and then beat L.C. Bird to take home the Conference 12 Championship.
“This year is a better feeling than last year,” said coach Ann Lambert. “You never think you’re going to lose in the first round of your conference tournament.”
The Royals took advantage of their opportunities, scoring all five of their goals on corner attempts – something their coach says they struggled with at times this season.
Lambert said that when her team stepped out on the field in August, that they were thinking about that loss, and doing whatever it took to prevent that from happening again.
Led by three seniors in Amanda Belcher, Ashlynn Hagee and Makenna Harrison, the vast majority of the team is in the junior class. Armed with a bevy of scoring options such as Kendall Eaton, Marley Guidry, Amelia Johnson, Carlee Lively and Abby Warren, the balance adds a mystery to matching up with Prince George.
“People never quite know what’s going to happen when they play us,” said Lambert.
Playing a difficult schedule has helped. The Royals faced off with Cosby, Clover Hill, Deep Run Henrico, James River and Lee-Davis in the regular season, defeating Lee-Davis and Henrico.
The Royals will face the loser Deep Run-Lee-Davis in the first round of regionals on Monday at River City Sportsplex. Runner-up L.C. Bird will face the winner of the contest.
Cosby field hockey had a new-look team this year, losing several talented seniors, but filled those gaps with incumbents. With a revamped defense, Cosby won their fourth straight Conference 3/Central District championship by defeating Clover Hill 2-1.
The Cavaliers struck first on a first half goal by senior Mae-Linh Bennett. Kiki Inman, one of the top scorers for the Titans answered. In the second half, Cosby’s Bethany Fuquay squeaked a ball by an outstretched Marqui Wright to take the lead for good.
“This was our third game against Clover Hill,” said Cosby coach Rachael Mead. “Wednesday was a washout and no practice, but I wanted them to rest,” she continued. “Whoever had the best night was going to win the game.”
For Cosby this season, unlike some others, things didn’t come quite as easy. Mead said her team was still gelling with the loss of talent was from year, citing two key defensive losses in Julia Coon and Mary Kate Gibbons. Emily Nicely and Karen Carter filled those gaps, while the sophomore duo of Bethany Fuquay and Connor Waldrop have filled nicely at forward and midfield.
“We started off this season slow with two losses, I guess they didn’t like the way that felt,” Mead said. “It means I lot to have this group get here and be here.”
Cosby continues their season on Monday in the 6A South region tournament, hosting Colonial Forge at River City Sportsplex at 5:30pm. Clover Hill travels to Riverbend (Fredericksburg, VA) for a Monday contest.
With another strong regular season, the Midlothian field hockey got over the hump, winning their second Conference 20 title in three years.
The Trojans defeated Powhatan 4-0, scoring all four of their goals in the first half to take the victory. The scoring came from the usual suspects, a trio of juniors- Regan Sabine, Nora Mulroy and Lauren Elmore.
“This group has great leadership,” Douglas said. “Natalie Durkin, Nora Mulroy, Frankie Urcia are the team’s captains sometimes by force of will pushed the team forward.”
A class of five seniors this year includes four starters in Alex Amend, Durkin, Raquel Millacci and Urcia. The leadership instilled by by this year’s captains earned respect from their teammates, directing their teammates to push harder.
Sabine is the team’s leading scorer, while Mulroy and Elmore compliment her nicely. Sabine is a skilled sticks-person, taking the ball down the side, crossing over to the middle and hunting for rebounds off a defender or keeper. Sabine is also one of the team’s hardest hitters on corners. Douglas calls Elmore her “cherry picker” for her ability to get open in from of the net, scoring with accuracy. Mulroy is the team’s main ball controller, and has a very hard shot.
With a talented offense and a well-round team, Midlothian will look to continue it’s run in regionals. The Trojans will play Eastern View (Culpeper) at 5:30pm on Monday at River City Sportsplex for their next contest.