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Archive for September 16, 2017

Sept. 16, 2017 — Norfolk (Va.) Academy 6, Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.) 2

NORFOLK, Va. — Kerry de Vries has had a varied life in field hockey, whether as a championship-level student-athlete at the University of Iowa or as the mother of a high-level player, Charlotte, at Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.) and as part of the U.S. youth high-performance system.

This year, de Vries is the head coach of Conestoga, and, after yesterday’s 6-2 loss in a road match at Norfolk (Va.) Academy, she could have had any number of emotions or thoughts after the game.

But the first thing on her mind was something different.

“My takeaway from this day,” she said, “was how privileged we were to play a game on this kind of surface, the way the game was meant to be played.”

As much as the game revolved around Conestoga’s Charlotte de Vries and the efforts of the Norfolk Academy to defend her, the overwhelming story was underfoot: Norfolk Academy’s two-year-old on-campus water-based turf.

NA is one of only four secondary schools in the United States with such a surface, and the Bulldogs used it to great effect yesterday, jumping out to a two-goal lead in under five minutes with smart passing, letting the ball do the work. Riley Fulmer and Lily Clarkson had two goals each for the hosts.

The game represented a homecoming of sorts for the de Vries family. As a middle-schooler, Charlotte de Vries played at Virginia Beach Cape Henry Collegiate (Va.). Two years on, with Kerry de Vries taking the job at Conestoga, one of the first calls she received was from Norfolk Academy, whose head coach, Linda Werkheiser, co-coaches the TCOYO club team along with de Vries.

“They were having trouble getting non-league games and asked whether we could come,” de Vries said. “My athletic director looked at me like I had three heads and I had to fundraise for every penny of this trip.”

The trip not only included the Norfolk Academy game, but an evening friendly against defending VHSL Class 6A champion Virginia Beach Frank W. Cox (Va.).

As for the afternoon match, Charlotte de Vries was indeed the focal point of the Conestoga attack. She scored a pair of wonder goals against Norfolk Academy — a screamer of a penalty corner and a backhand on a bouncing through ball that made it underneath the crossbar.

But that’s all that Norfolk Academy co-captains Greer Gill and Liz Heckard would allow. Gill was the flyer on the Bulldog defensive penalty corner unit, while Heckard, a central defender, picked up de Vries on several of her dangerous runs into the attack end.

“We knew that Char is an amazing player,” Gill said. “Defensively, we played amazing, trying to force the ball out before they could take a shot.

And it was in situations during open play where you would see the dynamic of respect between club teammates. de Vries would have opportunities in the attack third, but Heckard would take up a defensive position just about a yard and a half off the ball.  de Vries would wind up for a shot, but would see her club teammate in front of her and not follow through dangerously.

It is a different kind of hockey, one which is played above the shoulders.

“It’s a gift to be able to play the game the way it us supposed to be played,” Kerry de Vries said. “And against such a classy team.”

Conestoga (5-1) 1 1 — 2
Norfolk Academy (6-0) 3 3 — 6
NA: Holley Cromwell, fg, 2nd minute
NA: Lily Clarkson, fg, 5th
C: Charlotte de Vries (Grace McEvoy), pc, 16th
NA: Riley Fulmer (Grace Cornbrooks), fg, 19th
NA: Clarkson (Filmer), pc, 35th
C: de Vries, fg, 38th
NA: Fulmer (Sydney LeGuillow), fg, 51st
NA: LeGuillow, fg, 59th
Shots — C: 4; NA: 15. Saves — C: Ali Showers 9; NA: Olivia Highton 2.

POSTGAME Head coach Mary Werkheiser has been working for a decade to get to this moment: she has a smart, athletic team who not only executes, but is afraid to take on the nations best

POSTGAME Then again, it’s hard to call your VISAA Division I champion “upstarts.” They played smart and opportunistic hockey, hitting open players and taking their chances

POSTGAME In a game featuring two champions, it was the upstarts from Norfolk Academy who came out ahead thanks to smart play and interpassing, and the way that the Bulldogs defended against Charlotte de Vries

FULL TIME The horn goes with Norfolk Academy winning 6-2

58:51 NA GOAL LeGuillow is left behind the Conestoga defense and she makes them pay; NA surely has this won with a four-goal lead and under two minutes to go!

58:05 NA PC A low diagonal hurtles over the end line untouched

57:15 NA PC Fulmer saved by Ali Showers!

54:55 NA PC Fulmer pulls it wide!

54:00 NA PC Defensed by Emma McGillis; will rerack


50:13 NA GOAL Sydney LeGuillow breaks open on the right wing and feathers it to Fulmer, who finishes! NA leads 5-2

47:45 NA PC Shot saved and cleared by the Conestoga defense

45:00 Gill and Heckard have been doing yeoman work on defense today against de Vries

38:30 CHS PC defended by Gill again!


37:26 CHS GOAL de Vries is fed a bouncing through ball and she golfs a backhand under the crossbar! Golazo! Conestoga trails by two 

34:45 NA PC and GOAL Fulmer finds Clarkson with a skip pass and she buries it; NA leads 4-1

34:15 NA PC Gill finds Clarkson in the goalmouth but cannot get her hands free

31:39 CHS PC de Vries’ shot blocked by Gill! Follow-up goes wide!

30:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME Conestoga found itself two goals adrift in under five minutes and have yet to recover; de Vries is heavily targeted on corners and has only one shot

HALFTIME The whistle goes with Norfolk Academy leading Conestoga 3-1

29:59+ NA PC Option-left spills over the end line

25:30 CHS PC de Vries with an option right, has a first shot blocked, second one is a high riser

22:59 NA PC Gill’s shot is judged to be dangerous

18:58 NA GOAL Fulmer scores off the left wing and the Bulldogs take a 3-1 lead

17:05 CHS PC 1-up defensed by Greer Gill

15:54 CHS PC AND GOAL de Vries finds the corner! The chase is joined, but NA still leads 2-1

14:05 NA PC 1-Up goes wide left

12:59 NA PC Defensed and cleared by Grace McEvoy

10:15 de Vries takes it 3-on-2 into the circle, but NA senior Liz Heckard stands her ground

6:10 de Vries makes a run into the circle but a good tackle dispossesses her

5:00 Conestoga needs possession here if they want to remain in this game

4:25 NA GOAL On the redirect, Lily Clarkson finds net! Norfolk Academy leads 2-0

3:39 NA PC Greer Gill fluffs the trap and Charlotte de Vries causes her to retreat

1:33 NA GOAL A mixup at the back leads to Holley Cromwell’s tap-in; a dream start for the hosts! NA 1, Conestoga 0

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Conestoga is in the maroon with white numbers and trim, Norfolk Academy is in the white tops, blue kilts, and orange numbers

PREGAME This game’s video is available here if you want to put this on two screens

PREGAME The teams are warming up on the Norfolk Academy turf, temperatures around 80

PREGAME Today is a bit of a homecoming for Conestoga junior attacker Charlotte de Vries. Three years ago, as an 8th-grader, she was a standout for Cape Henry Collegiate

PREGAME Norfolk Academy is the VISAA Division I champion, while Conestoga is the current PIAA District 1-AAA champion. Both teams are unbeaten

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to today’s interstate field hockey match between PIAA District 1-AAA champion Tredyffrin Conestoga (Pa.) and VISAA champion Norfolk (Va.) Academy