Albemarle is intent on finishing around the goal and with the playoffs about to kick into gear Thursday, the Patriots took a solid step toward that end against Charlottesville in a 1-0 win on Monday night.
“We came off of Powhatan who’s very good defensively and we just weren’t able to finish,” said Albemarle coach Brittany McElheny. “So our focus today was finishing and although we didn’t get to finish as much as we’d like we got a lot more shots on goal which is the first step.”
The Patriots, who won the Jefferson District regular season championship, edged out the Black Knights with a relentless offensive attack that peppered Charlottesville with 13 shots. Albemarle broke through when Kelsey Myers wove her way through the Charlottesville defense and blasted a shot home.
“Kelsey was able to thread the needle a bunch — just weaving in and out of girls,” McElheny said. “She’s had like six goals called back this year so it was just nice to get some energy and get one in.”
The Patriots’ offense kept up the assault with Lexi Kohler, Warlick, Bellott and Myers all notching two shots each. In three key sequences, the Patriots nearly finished with goals, with one skirting the goalline before not being ruled a goal. Charlottesville keeper Casey Casarez had her hands full all night, finishing with 12 saves as the Patriots put nearly everything on the cage.
Despite the loss — the Black Knights’ second 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Patriots this year — Charlottesville built some solid momentum as they jump into the postseason Thursday.
“This time I thought we played them even better,” said Charlottesville coach Lindsay Clark. “We almost got a couple of goals there in the second half. Albemarle is a really good team and they’re really athletic, for us to play them well and all the way through is going to give us a lot of confidence.”
The Black Knights face Hanover in the first round of the region tournament. Albemarle opens region tournament play against Orange County at home Thursday. If Albemarle can win there, they’ll host in the region semifinals for a shot at the state tournament.