Victories in the Jefferson District are rarely easy.
That point was driven home Thursday night during the Western Albemarle field hockey team’s home showdown with Monticello.
Last month, the Warriors blanked the Mustangs, 3-0, in the district opener for both schools. The rematch was more competitive, but the result was the same as Western (8-2, 6-1 district) prevailed with a 1-0 victory.
Mallory Greene scored with 9:15 left in the first half and the Warriors’ defense made the lead stand up as Western Albemarle remained in second place in the district standings.
“I think our team played pretty well,” Greene said. “We definitely could work on a few things, but overall we worked together well and made the win happen.”
The Warriors dominated the first 30 minutes of action, outshooting the Mustangs 6-1.
Taraneh Brown had a blue-ribbon chance in the first 10 minutes on a backhand attempt, but Monticello goalkeeper Nathalie Morra made a great pad save to keep the game scoreless.
The Mustangs had a great scoring chance five minutes later, as freshman Reese Murray got free in the circle, but Western Albemarle goalie Addie Patterson was there to turn aside the threat.
Later in the half, Morra made a big kick save on a Libby Janucik shot to force a penalty corner. That’s when the Warriors were able to finally capitalize.
Jane Servine hit a drive from the left wing that Morra turned aside with her blocker. Western Albemarle regained possession and Greene, who was open in front, finished for the lone goal of the game.
Greene admitted the goal was a bit of a blur.
“It went off to the side and somebody else hit it right by the goal and I was right there and just tipped it in,” she said.
The Warriors held the lead through halftime and looked to put the game away in the second half with an early chance. Jane Zahovik got free on the left side of the goal, but Monticello backup goalkeeper Shannon Bittner made a quick move to her right to turn aside the shot and keep her team in the contest.
Monticello (3-7, 2-6) had several opportunities to tie the game in the final 15 minutes but was unable to get one past backup goalkeeper Emily Sposato.
Kendall Gibson had a backhand chance with 10:56 that Sposato stopped, resulting in a penalty corner opportunity.
On the ensuing penalty corner, Gibson hit a drive from the top of the circle that caromed off a defender’s stick. Jane Robinson tried to re-direct the ball into the goal but was unable to get a stick on it as it rolled out of play.
Morra made five saves for Monticello and Bitter added two more between the pipes for the Mustangs. Patterson and Sposato each had two saves as the Warriors notched their third straight shutout against district foes.
Greene credited her backline for helping save the day.
“We did really well on defense,” Greene said. “We really put a nice effort in and really put all our effort into getting this win.”