Shifting Gears: Strong second half pushes Albemarle hockey past Western

Senior Julia Douvas may not have scored Thursday night, but she changed the course of the game for Albemarle against Western.


“Julia Douvas has always gone at a different speed than everybody and when she plays like she did tonight, she brings everybody in,” said Albemarle’s Kelsey Myers. “She really set the tone.”


Douvas certainly pushed Myers to another level and Myers blasted home a pair of second half goals to lift Albemarle to a 2-1 victory over Western and a season sweep of the rivalry clash.


Western led 1-0 at the break thanks to a goal from Erica Repich after the Warriors forced a rash of short corner opportunities.


“It was awesome, I loved the way we came out, we came out so strong,” said Western coach Mia Fields. “We held our ground but I knew Albemarle was never going to give up.”


It was a massive improvement for the Warriors from the first meeting where Albemarle rolled 3-0.


“We just pick a few things that we’re going to work on — we’re going to stay tight on our mark inside the 25, our keeper is calling out the assignments,” Fields said. “And that communication helps each other.”


But Douvas’ play gave the Patriots the catalyst they needed to reverse course, particularly when coach Brittany McElheny challenged her team to meet Douvas’ pace during an early second half timeout.


“Julia was really really stepping up and during that timeout I was like the rest of you girls need to get on her level because if you do we’ll dominate this game,” McElheny said. “Kelsey kind of took that personal and stepped up just like Julia was doing it.”


Douvas is a relentless wing who is constantly creating, particularly since she shifted over to the right side, and she netted the gamewinner earlier this week against Powhatan in a 1-0 victory. Against the Warriors, she was causing a lot of problems but not getting the kind of support she needed to make it result in a goal. Until Albemarle talked during the timeout.


“In the second half coach mentioned (Douvas’ pace) and we were all like we’ve seen Julia step into every 50-50 ball, we’ve seen her carry it countless times with nobody to help,” Myers said. “We all really pushed ourselves to match her pace.”


Shortly thereafter, Myers knocked home the equalizer with 24 minutes to play. Then with 13:30 left, she put Albemarle up for good with a blast that came off the Western keeper and found the back of the net.


“The first goal really just gave us the momentum,” Myers said. “The second, we just stepped up and we were all keeping it in our offensive half. We just knew we needed another goal and when I shot it just ended up going in.”


It was a critical moment for the Patriots whose routine got thrown off by a scheduling change that forced them to flip flop the earlier time slot with the junior varsity.


“Especially with the rain there were some things I would’ve liked to tweak in our game but we literally get here, the girls go to the bathroom and we have to go and it’s just different,” McElheny said. “They don’t get the same time to warm up.”


The win keeps Albemarle unbeaten in the Jefferson District. They’ll face a stout challenge Monday at home against private school power Collegiate at 7:15 p.m. The Warriors will look to build on their improvement against that same Collegiate team at 4 p.m. on the road Friday.