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brd field hockey
Tough at the top of the Bay Rivers
By Chris Lancia | Correspondent
Perhaps the best indication of the strength of field hockey in the Bay Rivers District is the reluctance of any coach to pick a team most likely to finish the regular season on top.
The closest anyone would come? Picking the top five.
"There are so many strong teams in this district, and picking one is nearly impossible," said Jamestown coach Shannon Freeman. "You have to prepare equally for every opponent in this district, because there’s no room to underestimate anyone. But not being able to predict a winner is definitely a good thing."
Jamestown and Lafayette are expected to contend, as are York, Tabb and Grafton.
"There’s consistency in those first five, and you can’t take any of them lightly," said Lafayette coach Pat Thompson, whose team will be heavy on experience with 11 returning seniors.
Need more convincing that this may be one of the strongest districts in the state? Look to last year’s district tournament.
Sixth-seeded Poquoson knocked off third-seeded Grafton in the first round, and fourth-seeded Tabb took down top-seeded Jamestown in the semifinals.
Lafayette took the Bay Rivers tournament crown and finished fourth in the Region I tourney, but will play a different style this year.
The Rams will flash more offense than in past seasons, using their experience and balance to press and put up more shots.
"It’s exciting, because we’re trying a new game plan and going in a different direction than I normally try to go," Thompson said. "You always adjust what you do based on the players you have, but we’re fortunate in that we’ve got the ability to really mix it up this year and put on some pressure."
Rival Jamestown, which advanced to the state Group AA quarterfinals last year, will be led by senior midfielders Megan Matthews and Meghan McCorry, who combined for 20 goals and 15 assists last year.
Junior Nicole Segala will be relied on to anchor the Eagles’ defense.
Grafton will lean on playmaking senior Denise Wagner, who put up eight goals and 16 assists in 2006, and Tabb’s opponents will have to deal with senior defender Elizabeth Conley, who earned all-state AA honorable mention.
York returns senior Lauren St. Mary, who had 11 goals and an assist a year ago.
Bay Rivers District outlook
TEAMS TO WATCH:
Lafayette, Jamestown, York, Tabb, Grafton.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Megan Matthews, Sr., Jamestown; Lauren St. Mary, Sr., York; Erika Euker, So., Tabb; Courtney Williamson, Sr., York; Lauren Cherry, Sr., Tabb; Elizabeth Conley, Sr., Tabb; Denise Wagner, Sr., Grafton; Hannah Lyerly, Sr., Lafayette; Meghan McCorry, Sr., Jamestown; Nicole Segala, Jr., Jamestown; Stephanie Piotrowski, Jr., Bruton.
GAMES TO WATCH:
Grafton at Lafayette, Sept. 10 at 4 p.m.; Lafayette at York, Sept. 19 at 4 p.m.; Tabb at Grafton, Oct. 2 at 4 p.m.; Lafayette at Tabb, Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m.; York at Jamestown, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m.; Tabb at York, Oct. 11 at 5:30 p.m.; Lafayette vs. Jamestown (at Cooley Field), Oct. 20 at 5:30 p.m.
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