The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
Prep Field Hockey Notepad: Chargers take it slow, steady into ’12 season
Chancellor’s field hockey team is sort of slowly working its way into the field hockey season.
The Chargers played just their second game of the season last night, improving to 2–0 with a 9–0 win against Culpeper.
Part of the reason is just oddities in the Battlefield District schedule, but it’s also because Chancellor is saving its VHSL-limited nondistrict matches for a couple of real tests.
The Chargers will head to the National Training Center in Virginia Beach on Sept. 28–29, where they will play games on turf against Princess Anne and defending Group AAA champion First Colonial.
“I always want to play the best teams we can,” Chancellor coach Jim Larkin said. “Playing on the turf helps [because it’s the same surface the state tournament is played on], but it also helps to play better competition to try to get better.”
Even if that means taking a bad loss, a possible outcome against some of the state’s best hockey programs?
“That would be OK,” Larkin said. “I want to play competitive teams and we want to be challenged. If we take a bad loss, we can still learn from it.”
The Chargers this year have just 16 varsity players—one of the smallest teams Larkin has ever fielded.
But that’s mostly because they were so set coming into 2012.
The nucleus is nine juniors, most of whom played extensively for Chancellor’s 2011 state semifinal team. There are just two seniors—the Chargers’ goalkeepers—and one freshman.
“They’ve been working hard,” Larkin said. “They’re hungry. They really, really love one another. Last year was probably one of my best years because it was so pain-free off the field. The girls just all get along so well.”
The biggest challenge so far has been finding a challenge.
The Chargers are vastly more experienced than their two district opponents so far, as the results showed. They beat Culpeper, 9–0, on Wednesday, after opening the season with a 7–0 win against King George last week.
“We’re starting to play better,” Larkin said. “It’s just basic stuff for us right now, positioning and small hockey skills. If they would get better at that, the sky’s the limit.”
Chancellor hosts Caroline on Monday. The most important date for Chancellor—before the trip to Virginia Beach—is a Sept. 19 home game against James Monroe, the team most likely to challenge the Chargers for the Battlefield District crown.