Amanda Warlick served the role of distributor and set-up artist for the Albemarle field hockey team last season as the Patriots secured a Jefferson District title.
The senior forward took on a different role Thursday night, scoring a pair of goals to lead Albemarle to a 3-1 home victory over Monticello in a key district game.
“This is probably Amanda’s best game that she’s had so far this season,” Albemarle coach Brittany McElheny said. “She was cutting to balls. She was being scrappy. She just kind of took control and dribbled down the field and was doing her own thing and having girls follow her and I think she just stepped up and took a really good senior leadership role.”
Warlick wasted little time leaving her mark on the game, scoring 90 seconds into the contest on a well-designed penalty corner. Caitlyn Sanford ripped a drive from the top of the circle that Monticello goalkeeper Natasha Morra got her right pad on. Warlick pounced on the rebound and pushed it inside the right post for a 1-0 lead with 28:30 left in the first half.
The weather took its toll on both teams, as players had to compete in high temperatures and humidity on the Albemarle turf field.
“They did a great job tonight,” McElheny said. “I think it was a bit more humid and hotter than I realized, but they kept plugging away. We got everybody on the field and they were rotating fast.”
Albemarle (3-2, 2-0 Jefferson District) struck again midway through the first half on a great individual effort from Liz Yow. The junior forward gained possession at midfield and used her speed and stick work to get behind the Mustangs’ defense and into a one-on-one opportunity with the keeper. Yow capitalized on the scoring chance with a wrist shot inside the left post for a 2-0 lead with 14:30 left.
Monticello (1-4, 0-2) gained some momentum just before halftime with a late goal. After limited offensive opportunities in the first half, Abby Engler pounced on a loose ball in the crease and flicked a shot past Albemarle keeper Morgan Coleman to trim the lead to 2-1 with 1:45 left in the half.
The lead remained that way early in the second half before Warlick added an insurance goal with 14:30 left in the game. Following a turnover deep in their offensive zone, the senior backhanded a shot just inside the right post to seal the win.
The victory extended Albemarle’s winning streak to two in a row and should serve as a confidence booster as the Patriots continue into district play.
“We just kept the energy up,” McElheny said. “Monticello is a very strong defensive team and so to sneak three hard goals in there Is a little bit stronger than I realized at the beginning of the game.”