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Late goal lifts Western Albemarle field hockey team to win over Monticello

Late goal lifts Western Albemarle field hockey team to win over Monticello

Sophie Lanahan and Mallory Greene are part of a group of eight senior Western Albemarle players on this year’s roster that have experienced a lot of success in their time with the Warriors.

The seniors added more memories that they won’t soon forget during Thursday’s 2-1 road victory over Monticello.

Greene scored just before halftime to open the scoring and Lanahan added the game-winner with 1:23 left in the game as Western Albemarle (8-7, 7-4 district) extended its winning streak to three in a row.

“It’s always fun playing Monticello,” Lanahan said. “They’re always one of our closest games. It was just a total team win. We all worked hard together and it all paid off.”

Both teams traded scoring chances in the first half but we’re unable to capitalize in the final third. Haedyn Barnes had two blue-ribbon chances for Monticello (11-4, 7-4) that trickled just wide and Ari Romero-Gonzalez added a diving chance inside the circle that just missed the right post.

Western Albemarle had several chances to score as well, including a drive from Khaki Harris.

Greene got the breakthrough tally with 30 seconds left in the first half to give Western Albemarle a 1-0 lead. With time winding down, the Warriors had a late rush inside the zone and Jean-Nika VanDer Westhuizen carried the ball inside the circle and found Greene open on the far post. The senior buried the ball in the back of the cage for a 1-0 Warrior lead.

In the third quarter, Monticello was finally rewarded on the scoreboard following a well-executed penalty corner. Reese Murray found Kendall Gibson at the top of the circle and her drive ended up on the stick of Murray, who tipped it home to tie the game at 1-1 with less than four minutes left in the third quarter.

Both teams battled tooth and nail for every possession in the final 15 minutes. With a potential shootout looming, Western Albemarle earned a penalty corner with less than 1:30 left to set up the game-deciding play.

Greene got the ball inside the circle and fired a shot on goal. Firmly stationed in front of Monticello goalkeeper Ava Barnes, Lanahan got her stick on the ball and re-directed into the back of the cage with 1:23 left for the decisive goal.

“I think it was just kind of a lucky tip,” Lanahan said. “Mallory Greene had a really good shot, all the credit to her, and I just kind of tipped it in. It was just kind of a team play.”

The win gave Western Albemarle a sweep of the season series with Monticello and helped move the Warriors up in the Region 4B power rankings. The two Jefferson District foes could meet again in the postseason.

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