It’s hard to get into a rhythm when a game is split over two days separated by a month due to a lightning delay, and Covenant’s field hockey team struggled to find a flow in the final 13 minutes of the first half of their game with Albemarle Monday.
But they eventually found it and beat the Patriots 2-0 to remain unbeaten against Charlottesville-area programs on the year.
“I was extremely proud of the way the team got into a rhythm in the second half,” said Covenant coach Annie Gumbs. “Our defenders did a phenomenal job delaying with their defense and then making smart passes and our midfielders did a good job of delineating when to carry and when to pass. Then our forwards did a really good job of penetrating the circle but then also defending.”
The Eagles, ranked No. 3 in the VISAA’s Division II, got goals from Claire McCartney off a Wynston Archer assist in the first half and from Teagan Murrie in the second half to secure the victory. That’s an evolution from earlier this season when Lizzy Shim and Ivy Allen, the Eagles’ two senior stars, were scoring the vast majority of Covenant’s goals (Shim assisted on one other goal when Murrie redirected a blast near the goal, but it was disallowed because of some confusion when it trickled through the net). Lately though, the rest of the lineup has been coming up big for Covenant.
“That’s what we were hoping to see and it’s a big testament to the girls’ ability to get the ball wide and trust their teammates,” Gumbs said.
It helps of course that the Eagles had chance after chance, with a midfield that essentially refused to allow Albemarle opportunities by re-defending hard to create turnovers and get the ball back on their attack. Albemarle manage just one shot the entire game.
“They do a great job of holding possession and setting up a two man on the outside and send in two more in the middle redefend,” said Albemarle coach Brittany McElheny. “It’s a great strategy and it obviously worked really well for them tonight.”
Albemarle’s goalies, Morgan Coleman and Emily Garcia, meanwhile, withstood a barrage of attacks by Covenant, combining for nine saves on the day.
The Eagles host Fredericksburg Academy Thursday while Albemarle travels to take on Collegiate in Richmond today.