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Under chilly conditions at Wanner Stadium, the Lafayette field hockey team earned a hard-fought 2-0 win against the visiting New Kent Trojans on Monday night.
In honor of Senior Night, Lafayette Coach Chris Jones decided to keep in his seniors for the entirety of the game regardless of their usual playing times. Win or lose, Jones wanted to send off his seniors with a bang at home.
The move paid off as the Rams displayed good passing, communication and possession throughout the game. While Lafayette kept the ball deep in New Kent's territory for most of the night — and taking 12 shots to the Trojans' two — the defense shut down scoring opportunities as Lafayette goalkeeper Gabby Boesler only had to make one save during the game.
In the first half, Lafayette maintained possession and generated attacks through the midfield that wound up in the attacking third of the field. For the first 26 minutes, New Kent repelled the Lafayette attacks much to the frustration of Jones.
With exactly four minutes left to play in the first half, Lafayette finally broke through the Trojans defense as senior Erin Zrakovi found the ball on her stick in the middle of a mad scramble in front of the New Kent cage. Zrakovi dug the ball out and poked it into the bottom-left corner of the cage for the game's opening goal.
Zrakovi's goal allowed Lafayette to enter the half leading 1-0 over the Trojans.
The second half was much of the same as Lafayette controlled the ball but struggled to generate goals off scoring opportunities. The Rams were pushed up past midfield for most of the second half, forcing multiple penalty corners and long hits.
On occasion, a long pass from New Kent would catch the Rams off guard and would require some quick defending to shut down a potential breakaway. Each time, the Rams were up to the challenge.
The Rams scored their second goal of the game on a long pass of their own. McKayla Guerrero sent a hard pass up the heart of the defense, which found Lauren Walker in stride all alone. Walker raced to the net, facing a one-on-one breakaway against the New Kent goalie.
Walker sent a shot at the cage, but saw it turned away by the goalie. Staying with the play, Walker collected the ball again and this time sneaked it past the goalie for the game's final goal with 8:38 remaining.
Jones said he was proud of the effort the Rams put in during their final home game of the year. For Jones, it was about as perfect a Senior Night as he could have imagined from his team.
"It was their night and they kept the intensity up," said Jones about his seniors. "We kind of dominated our end of the field. I was pleased with the effort everybody put forth tonight."
Lafayette (5-4-1) will face a quick turnaround as the Rams travel to play Poquoson on Tuesday.
Lafayette 2, New Kent 0
Goals: Lafayette (Erin Zrakovi, Lauren Walker)
Grafton Edges Smithfield in Road Contest
A goal by Grace Hoepfner helped lift Grafton to a 1-0 win against Smithfield on the road Monday.
The Clippers got on the board quickly, as Hoepfner scored off an assist from Sydnie Swartwood just eight minutes into the game to put Grafton on top 1-0.
With a lead in hand, Grafton put together a dominating defensive performance. The Clippers took nine penalty corners to Smithfield's two, while Grafton goalkeeper Laurel Nicks needed to make two saves compared to Smithfield's 10.
Grafton entered halftime leading 1-0 and that score held until the final buzzer sounded 30 minutes later.
The Clippers (8-6) will hit the road to play Warhill on Wednesday looking to keep a three-game win streak active.
Grafton 1, Smithfield 0
Goals: Grafton (Grace Hoepfner)
Assists: Grafton (Sydnie Swartwood)
Tabb Claims Bay Rivers District Title
With a 4-0 win against Poquoson on Monday, the Tabb Tigers retained their regular season Bay Rivers District championship title.
The Tigers scored a trio of goals in the first half, including two over the last seven minutes of play. Tabb entered halftime with a 3-0 lead over the Islanders.
Tabb added one more late in the second half to close out the victory and secure the district title.
The Tigers (13-1) have finished regular season play and ended on a nine-game win streak. Tabb will now await its opponent in the Conference 27 tournament that begins Oct. 26.
Individual statistics were not reported for this game.
Tabb 4, Poquoson 0