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Prep Field Hockey: Chargers fight JM to close win
BY JUSTIN RICE
The first round of the Battlefield District field hockey title bout went to Chancellor on Wednesday. But if the opening match was any indication, stand by for a fight to the finish.
Chancellor junior Chelsea Galera scored two minutes into overtime to give the Chargers a 3–2 win against James Monroe in the first of two regular-season matchups.
The Yellow Jackets rallied from a one-goal deficit twice in regulation before Galera hit the game-winner—her second goal in the game—to keep Chancellor (6–0, 6–0) undefeated.
“I think it’ll always be neck-to-neck [between the two teams],” said James Monroe junior Hannah Fisher. “These are the games I get most pumped for. I think that’s the way it is for the rest of the team, and for Chancellor, too.
“Both teams have great coaches and great players and it’s always going to be intense.”
It was not only the first meeting between the two teams most likely to contend for the district title this fall; it was also maybe the first real test either school has faced.
Chancellor hadn’t even allowed a shot on goal in any of its first five matches, all lopsided victories.
“I told [JM coach Jamie Tierney] I was glad to see her,” Chancellor coach Jim Larkin said, “because I knew it was going to be a really hard game. When you haven’t played a full 60 minutes, and you’re forced to play full throttle, it’s difficult to make that adaptation.”
Early on, it looked like the Chargers were the team most prepared to play.
Chloe Fernandez scored after some nice tic-tac-toe passing in front of the JM cage to give the Chargers a 1–0 lead with the match not even 3 minutes old.
The Jackets responded, though, especially in the second part of the first half.
Penalty corners with seven minutes, 51 seconds and 3:41 to play before the break both led to JM goals, both by senior Allison Black.
The first came off a feed by Fisher; the second came when she collected the rebound after a flurry of James Monroe shots.
Between the two JM goals, Galera tallied her first score on a breakaway feed from Fernandez.
“We came out strong and had that goal, and then we stopped moving,” Larkin said. “JM did well moving the ball around, and they were opening lanes and spaces, and we didn’t do good with that.”
After a scoreless and even second half—the Jackets had a slight edge in corners and shots after the break—the overtime ended in a flash.
Chancellor’s Kate Colley carried the ball along the end line toward the JM cage, while Galera maneuvered into position with 13:15 to play.
“I saw Kate coming down the line; I knew she was going to take a shot,” she said. “I just had to get on pads. I got the ball, pulled forward and reversed it past the goalie. It felt so good.”
The goal ended the game, and sent both coaches into teaching mode, as they were eager to impart lessons from the first true test either team has faced.
For JM, the lesson was one of confidence.
“Overall we need to have a little more composure and have confidence,” Tierney said. “Chancellor plays, to me, as a very confident team and we kind of wait for balls to come to us. We need to be confident and step to the ball and make plays.”
Chancellor, meanwhile, relished finally getting its relatively inexperienced defense tested in a game setting.
“It’s good to have shots on us,” Larkin said. “I told the girls, ‘You can’t win a state title in September, and you can’t lose one, but we can find out where we are, and figure out what we want to be.’”
Justin Rice: 540/368-5045