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October 27, 2011
By PAUL MONTANA - Bulletin Sports Writer

When asked how she prepares for Carlisle's field hockey team, North Cross coach Sarah du Plessis had a telling answer.

"Besides crossing our fingers?" she cracked.

For teams in the Blue Ridge Conference, it seems there's not much else they can do.

The Chiefs waltzed through their the BRC tournament semifinal match on senior night, winning 11-0 over North Cross on Thursday at the Smith River Sports Complex.

Carlisle, ranked No. 4 in VISAA Division II, advances to Saturday's final against Chatham Hall at the SRSC.

Chiefs coach Meade Seiy said before the season that this team is as talented as the 2009 squad that won the state title, and she's not changing her tune in the postseason.

"I feel like this team can go all the way," she said. "It's just a matter of, they've gotta want it, and they've gotta play well."

It's hard to argue with the Chiefs' performance Thursday.

Robbi Jensen had four goals, Alanna Ferguson had a goal and three assists, and Lori Yeaman had four assists for Carlisle. Emily Morgan and Morgan Hill each had a pair of goals, and Michelle Arroyo also put in two goals for the Chiefs (11-2 overall, 6-0 BRC), which passed in and out of the Raiders' packed-in defense.

"We had probably some of the best passing all season tonight," Ferguson said. "We really linked up, and we saw each other really well. We opened our eyes on the field, and I think our goals just came from our really good passes and communication today."

Morgan netted the Chiefs' opening goal less than a minute into the game, then put in another on a pass from Ferguson less than three minutes later.

A lull of 15:33 passed before a shot from Jensen near the circle deflected off a defender to the upper corner. That sparked a run of five goals in the final 11 minutes of the first half to give the Chiefs a 7-0 lead at the break.

Plessis has seen Carlisle a number of times over the years. She said this team isn't necessarily better than in other seasons - "they're just always good," she said.

"One thing that I really like about them watching them play is that they will just knock themselves out to save a ball from going across the line," she said. "And they tell each other where to be. They're very good at anticipating."

The closest the Chiefs have come to a conference loss this season was a 4-2 win over Chatham on the road. Chatham is the only BRC foe to score on Carlisle all year; on the season, Carlisle has outscored conference teams 47-2.

The Chiefs' only losses this season came in a tournament they hosted Sept. 23-24 at the Smith River Sports Complex. Those defeats may have helped the Chiefs, Seiy said.

"I think that tournament really turned up the volume as far as the way we play," Seiy said. "Our passing game has improved so much since that tournament."

The only concern now for Carlisle is how it will react when its next tough opponent comes around.

"It's very scary," Ferguson said of routinely winning lopsided games. "We've had a lot of cancellations for our really good games, so it's been difficult without that good competition. But I think our team is very well-prepared, we're well-conditioned, and we're ready to play in states."

Seiy said that last year's exit in the VISAAA, Division II semifinals - a 2-0 loss to Covenant - provides plenty of motivation.

"The semifinal last year against Covenant, they felt like they didn't play their game. They were taken out of their game," she said.

"Mentally, they're so there. We've just gotta physically get there."

Carlisle 11, North Cross 0


First Half

C - E. Morgan goal.

C - E. Morgan goal, M. Hill ast.

C - R. Jensen goal.

C - A. Ferguson goal, L. Yeaman ast.

C - M. Arroyo goal, A. Ferguson ast.

C - A. Ferguson goal, L. Yeaman ast.

C - R. Jensen goal, A. Ferguson ast.

Second Half

C - R. Jensen goal, A. Ferguson ast.

C - M. Hill goal, L. Yeaman ast.

C - M. Arroyo goal, L. Yeaman ast.

C - R. Jensen goal.