TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Oct. 17, 2015 — Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) 2, Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.) 1

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The mark of a good team in any sport boils down to simple metrics: wins, losses, and points on a scoreboard.

But there are also the intangibles: how a team responds when nothing seems to work, when a key player is missing, or how a team performs in the first five minutes or the last five minutes of a half. But above all, the measure of a team can be found in how a team responds just after conceding a score.

The field hockey team from Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.) showed all of those intangibles in a 2-1 win over Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.) in a game played at the National Training Center. It was a meeting of runners-up from last year’s postseason tournaments. FC dropped the 2014 VHSL Class 6A title match to Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.), while Trinity lost the 2014 VISAA Division I title to Norfolk (Va.) Academy.

First Colonial’s game winner came off the stick of Cameran Strickland, and it was scored only 78 seconds after Trinity tied the game on an Addie Nash goal.

“They responded really well,” said FC head coach Beanie Schleicher. “We’ve changed our formation and our lineup quite a bit, and we’re mature enough that they know how to counter when they’ve been scored on and not get down on themselves.”

But the opening goal of the match encapsulated so much of First Colonial’s ethos and the program’s rise to regional and national prominence over the last half-decade.

With the clock running down in the first half, FC was awarded a penalty corner. Inserter Evelyn Murray was penalized for a false start on the pushout, so she was sent over the 50-yard line, and the Patriots were obligated to use another player to start the corner. For a team which saw seven first-half corners misfire (including one that came off the post), this wasn’t a welcome development.

But receiving the ball on the pushout on the untimed corner to end the first half was senior attacking midfielder Haley Schleicher, who just happens to be the third-leading goal-scorer and the leading assister in National Federation history. On the corner, she feathered a pass to a cutting Izzy Fontana to give the Patriots a 1-0 halftime lead.

“You know, Izzy only played about three minutes,” Beanie Schleicher said, “and she scores for us.”

In truth, if you looked at the flow of the match, it was controlled by the movement and positioning of Haley Schleicher for First Colonial, and Ella Donahue for Trinity Episcopal. The play was very even throughout, even though the better offensive chances came from First Colonial’s attack. Also stepping up for FC was co-captain Marlee McClendon, who is going to Old Dominion next year.

“I’ve learned a lot from my teammates, and from Coach,” said McClendon, a holding midfielder. “Haley’s made me a better player, playing with and against her.”

“People have this misconception that we’re a one-man team,” Beanie Schleicher said. “And we’re not. Haley has a great supporting cast; everyone’s stepping up for us. And Marlee has really stepped up for us on defense.”

It was an extremely competitive match — not only because the level of play in the VISAA has improved greatly over the last decade or so, but because many of the players on both sides know each other from playing on the Saints Field Hockey Club.

“The level of play in our league (League of Independent Schools) has gotten so much better the last few years,” said Trinity head coach Margie Snead, who has been in the job for 17 seasons. “I think it’s great for our kids who are going to play at the next level; the talent level is so much broader than it was when I first started coaching. It’s a high hockey IQ out there, and it’s fun to watch.”

Both teams are visualizing themselves back on the turf at the NTC in four weeks, although there is a lot of work to do to get back to their respective championship games.

FIRST COLONIAL (15-1) 1 1 – 2
TRINITY EPISCOPAL (14-1) 0 1 – 1
FC:
Izzy Fontana (Haley Schleicher), pc, 30th
TE: Addie Nash (Annie Snead), fg, 40th
FC: Cameran Strickland, fg, 41st
Shots — FC: 6; TE: 6. Saves — FC: Kimi Jones 5; TE: Erica Latta 4.


POSTGAME Though the teams were relatively even in midfield, First Colonial created the more dangerous chances on the day, but had to earn this victory. Nothing will be easy for these teams in the next month as both seek state championships in the VHSL and the VISAA

FULL TIME And the horn goes with the Patriots winning 2-1

57:49 Timeout, First Colonial

53:00 FC PC Hi-lo misses the target

51:30 FC PC Schleicher’s flip misses the cage by a tiny fraction!

47:30 FC PC Schleicher sizzles a diagonal past the post!

44:00 FC PC Defensed and cleared by Hallie Larsen

43:30 FC PC Defensed off Donahue’s ankle

40:50 Timeout, First Colonial

40:43 FC GOAL And just like that, Cameran Strickland stakes the Patriots to a 2-1 lead

39:25 TES GOAL Addie Nash finishes the Annie Snead pass from in deep and the game is tied 1-1

34:30 TES PC Sydney Lee golfs a bouncer just wide!

33:00 FC PC insert hits McClendon on the foot; unlucky!

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME It was a pretty even half, with the stars coming out to play, but FC gets on the board first

HALFTIME That assist was Schleicher’s 191st; as many as she has scored, it is incredible how many times she has set up her teammates over the years

HALFTIME That is one of those goals that changes the dynamic of the team talks, given the mental advantage given the scoring team going into the break

29:59 FC PC and GOAL Schleicher finds a cutting Izzy Fontana for the goal; FC leads 1-0

29:30 FC PC FC’s Evelyn Murray is penalized for a false start and must go to the 50

28:30 FC PC McClendon’s flip is sent over the end line

18:00 TES PC Donahue’s shot blocked and cleared!

17:30 TES PC Donahue’s shot defensed by Marlee McClendon!

16:00 FC PC Schleicher’s dragflick off the post!

13:30 FC PC Schleicher is repelled by Donahue

13:00 FC PC Option right hits a Trinity foot

11:35 FC PC The hi-lo is sent into the middle, but the shot is blocked

11:00 FC PC Off a Donahue foot: will reset

8:30 TES PC Donahue’s shot is saved by a diving Kimi Jones! What a stop!

2:05 FC PC Haley Schleicher’s dragflick is smothered by Ella Donahue

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Trinity is in the white with navy kilts; First Colonial is in the powder blue with navy trim

PREGAME The teams are warming up under clear skies, temperatures around 64 degrees

PREGAME The game will go a ways towards solving the riddle as to which team is the best in the Commonwealth of Virginia; any one of about five or six teams could claim that crown

PREGAME The game is going to be a great warmup for these teams going into their respective postseasons, which begin soon

PREGAME The game features a pair of the game’s bright stars. Ella Donahue is an age-group national teamer who is committed to William & Mary. Duke commit Haley Schleicher is the all-time leader in career assists (190) and is third all-time in goals (188)

PREGAME Trinity is 14-0 this season; First Colonial is 14-1

PREGAME Welcome to the National Training Center in Virginia Beach, Va. for today’s interconference match between Richmond Trinity Episcopal (Va.) and Virginia Beach First Colonial (Va.)

Advertisements

No comments yet»

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: