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Region AA/A Field Hockey: Chargers know work is far from finished

CHANCELLOR HOLDS OFF

‘INTENSE’ GRAFTON PUSH,

FACES CHARLOTTESVILLE

IN GROUP AA/A SEMIS

BY TAFT COGHILL JR.

THE FREE LANCE–STAR

VIRGINIA BEACH—There was no celebration after the Chancellor field hockey team won its Group AA state quarterfinal against Grafton on Tuesday.

Chargers veteran coach Jim Larkin simply had a brief word with his players before they slapped hands with the Clippers and made their way out of the chilly weather at the National Training Center.

    GROUP AA/A

    At Virginia Beach

    Tuesday’s quarterfinals

    Fauquier 2, Northampton 0

    Chancellor 2, Grafton 1

    Friday’s semifinals

    Fauquier vs. Tabb, 11 a.m.

    Chancellor vs. Charlottesville, 1 p.m.

The subdued reaction was because Chancellor expected to win. The 2–1 victory made it possible for the Chargers to achieve their ultimate goal of winning a third state championship for the school.

Chancellor (18–4) advances to the state semifinals, where it will face Charlottesville at 1 p.m. at the same location as its quarterfinal victory.

“These kids have been working hard,” Larkin said. “They want to get back. They want an opportunity to bring back the tradition, progress into that state final and try to win another one. It’s just been our mentality from Day One.”

Larkin added that although Chancellor lost to James Monroe in the Battlefield District tournament title game, winning that event or the regular-season crown wasn’t the Chargers’ goal.

They want another shot at Tabb, which eliminated them in the state semifinals in 2011 with a 5–0 victory.

Chargers senior defender Kenzie Neylon said that was a painful defeat because it was so lopsided. She said Chancellor is better prepared to face Tabb again, if it defeats Charlottesville and the Tigers get past Fauquier.

There was evidence of an improved Chancellor team in its 2–1 overtime defeat of Tabb in the Region I championship game last week.

“We’re definitely better than we were last year,” Neylon said. “So we’re ready for them.”

Larkin said the Chargers aren’t looking past Charlottesville. But they may have gotten a bit ahead of themselves when they took a 2–0 lead in the second half against Grafton on junior forward Chelsea Galera’s goal.

Larkin said the final several minutes of the game were sloppy, and not good enough to win a state title.

The Clippers pulled within 2–1 with 2:32 left in the game on Caroline Beaudoin’s goal. Grafton then had two scoring opportunities on corners in the final minute, but the Chargers survived.

“We didn’t play smart hockey the last five to seven minutes of that game,” Larkin said. “I told them, ‘Everything’s got to go forward.’ But then she sends it laterally right into the middle of the circle, they get a breakaway, force a corner and it creates a goal. We can’t have those lapses if we want to beat Charlottesville and Tabb.”

Neylon scored the first goal of the game for the Chargers on an assist from Katherine Hull. Neylon said the Chargers relaxed a bit after Galera’s goal, and that caused an “intense” final minute. The Clippers had their chances, but Chancellor’s defense remained strong.

“It was just a matter of getting that shot off, and it didn’t work for us,” Grafton coach Brooke Fiener said. “Their goal made an amazing save.”

It all meant Chancellor didn’t have to sweat out overtime. And now the Chargers can turn their attention to their dream of another state crown.

“We’re happy, but we’re not satisfied,” Galera said of Tuesday’s win. “We’re definitely working to get back to that final. We’re working for our team last year, and for our alumni that graduated.”

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/sports/2012/11/06/region-aaa-field-hockey-chargers-know-work-is-far-from-finished/