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4A-NORTH FIELD HOCKEY: Final word belongs to Chargers

The call-and-response 4A–North field hockey championship game Thursday started with a Chancellor call, was elevated with a James Monroe response and ended with a Chancellor answer that clinched the region title.

Chloe Fernandez’s goal with one minute, 44 seconds remaining lifted the Chargers to a 2–1 win over the rival Jackets. Both teams advance to next week’s state semifinals, but in the first meaningful head-to-head matchup they’ve played this year, it was Chancellor that had the last word.

“I really think we responded,” Chancellor senior Katherine Hull said. “We were really tired in the second half, but I think we pushed through it well. We were working really hard and it was a good game.”

The prize awaiting Chancellor next week is a state semifinal against Tabb, the team the Chargers beat in last year’s Group AA/A state championship game. James Monroe will face 4A–South champion Lakeland. Both games are Friday at the National Training Center in Virginia Beach.

And if Chancellor plays as well as it did—especially in the midfield—next week, it should give Tabb a great game.

The Chargers controlled the pace, outcornering James Monroe 5–1 in the first half, and uncorking a flood of shots while not giving up a single on-target try to the Jackets.

Hull assisted on the only score of that first period, fielding a corner and slipping it to Kate Colley for a 1–0 lead 10 minutes into the game.

But James Monroe’s second-half response was strong.

“We were finally getting those switches,” JM coach Jamie Tierney said. “Next week on the turf we’ll get that and it was finally happening tonight. It’s the only way to move through the Chancellor defense.”

JM senior Hannah Fisher keyed the second-half surge, and it was her blast—on a corner inserted by Catesby Willis—that tied the game with 14:55 to play.

But then it was Chancellor’s turn to respond.

The Chargers had four straight corners over a two-minute stretch with about 10 minutes to play.

And they had three straight in the final three minutes, the last of which resulted in the game-winner.

Hull fielded the corner at the top of the circle. She passed right to Jordan Rasure, who slid the ball across the front of the cage to Fernandez.

“It was like right on the pads; I had to pull it two inches to the left and put it through the goalie,” Fernandez said. “I think once they scored, it didn’t faze us. OK. They scored. Now we have to get another one. People are going to score on us; we just have to get it back.”

Both teams now turn their attention to the turf of the National Training Center, and the challenge of the two strong teams that will greet them on Friday.

“Tabb and Lakeland will be blazingly quick; those are two Goliath games,” Chancellor coach Jim Larkin said. “Are they winnable? Yes. But we have to play really, really well. But with all four of the teams that are left, you’re going to have to play well.”


Justin Rice: 540/368-5045