Not all goals are created the same.
Some are the culmination of a play perfected on the training ground, while others are the byproduct of sheer grit and determination of a player just simply wanting the ball more.
Hermi Going’s tally for the Western Albemarle field hockey team Tuesday night was a combination of the two.
The junior midfielder scored with 13:33 left in the first half to give her team the lead and the Warriors’ defense turned in another terrific effort as Western Albemarle notched its third straight shutout in a 1-0 win over visiting Covenant.
“Defensively, we’ve been working on shorter passes, trying to connect and passing it forward so our teammates could run onto it, to get the ball up the field,” Going said.
Coach Mia Fields’ team worked that strategy to perfection for most of the game as Western Albemarle (9-2) limited Covenant to just one shot on goal in the first 30 minutes.
Offensively, the Warriors were on the attack right from the start as they peppered Eagles’ goalkeeper Erin Flynn with six shots on goal.
The Eagles’ junior keeper was up to the challenge, posting five saves, including point-blank stops on Mallory Greene and Sophie Lanahan, to keep the game scoreless through the first 15 minutes.
That changed two minutes later when Western Albemarle was awarded its third penalty corner of the half and the Warriors were finally able to break through.
Going found Lanahan at the top of the circle and the junior midfielder smacked a shot on goal that Flynn made a nice pad save on.
Two Warriors battled to gain possession of the ball and tipped it to Going on the left post and the junior tapped it home for the 1-0 lead.
“In practice, we’ve been working on tipping a lot, which is when you wait on the corner for a rebound, because that’s where you get most of the goals, not on the initial shot,” Going said. “I was just thinking I needed to stay on the post because I knew the goalie could [deflect the ball] and it could come to me.”
Going said when the ball came free, she knew what she had to do.
“I just saw it was past the goalie,” Going said. “I knew it was my chance to get it in, so I just went for it.”
The second half was more of the same as Western Albemarle dominated possession and shots for the first 10 minutes.
Flynn rose to the challenge and made three big stops to give her team a chance to get the equalizer.
Covenant (5-5), which was missing five players due to injury, dug deep in the final 15 minutes and had several opportunities to tie the game.
Claire McCartney intercepted a pass near midfield and delivered a nice feed to Ashley Ballard for a one-one-one chance with Western goalkeeper Emily Sposato. Ballard’s drive trickled just outside the right post and out of play.
Ten minutes later, the Eagles had another opportunity on a penalty corner chance. Abi Shinn gained possession 10 yards from goal, but the ball sailed just wide of the post.
Ballard found herself with another scoring chance just two minutes later when she blasted a shot earmarked for the right corner. Sposato showed great lateral quickness and got her body in front of the shot as it caromed off the post and out of play to secure the win.
“The big things we’ve been working on is making sure we can slow down the girl who gets the ball,” Going said. “So we can give the defense and the goalie time to recover and prepare. So it’s not just one-on-one with the goalie.”
Flynn finished with nine saves in goal for Covenant.
Addie Patterson and Sposato combined for three stops to preserve the win for Western Albemarle.