The Matoaca Warriors earned a field hockey regional berth by advancing to the conference 12 tournament final last week. The ladies won regular season championship before falling to Prince George in the final, but faced Lee Davis (18-1) in the first round of regionals on Monday, losing 3-1.
Junior midfielder Jackie Cheely led the way for the Warriors in 2013.
“She’s done a great job of scoring goals and moving the ball around,” said Matoaca Field Hockey Head Coach Kate Doctor.
Also standing out for the Warriors were senior team captain Ellie Miller, who provides excellent defense at the halfback position and goalie Miranda Childers, who notched 37 saves in a single game this year and saved 90 percent of the shots fired on goal against her.
“This team has talent and ball control,” stated Doctor.
Despite having a short bench with just three subs, the Warriors made the most of it and dubbed themselves as a “small but mighty team.”
“These girls worked very hard as individuals,” said Doctor. “They have a lot of tenacity.”
The past few games were low-scoring for the Warriors, in part to their great defense. A challenge at times for the team was finding offense to support that defense.
The Warriors finished the season with a 13-6 overall record.
The Thomas Dale Knights, a perennial field hockey powerhouse earned a regional tournament berth again this year. Like the aforementioned Warriors, the Knights narrowly fell in their conference final to Cosby 3-2 and faced Stafford in the first round of regionals falling 5-0.
Behind co-conference player of the year Maddie Kendrick, and the leadership of seniors Kylie Gibson, Holland Slachter, Becky Kriz and goalkeeper Bridget Schindel, the Knights had their fair share of battle tested players, and this showed all season, especially in a close contest with James River to kick off the postseason in which Thomas Dale won 1-0.
“Maddie Kendrick is our top player come tournament time,” said Clark. “When the end is on the line for the seniors, you see their best hockey come out.”
Clark said that while the team has tended to start slow this season, they lately had been able to turn the game around significantly in the second half. Cosby was a prime example of this as they came back to tie the game.
The seniors stepped it up overall in the playoffs, with Kriz scoring a goal in the postseason and Schindel ramping up her play in goal, gathering 14 saves against Stafford.
The Knights finish their season at 10-6 and add yet another region appearance for one of the most successful and consistent programs in the area. The Knights were central region runner-ups in 2012 and won the last eight Central District titles before the VHSL re-alignment.