Carlisle Field Hockey Makes Final 4
Coming into their state quarterfinal match against Covenant School, the girls on the Carlisle field hockey team had a little more on their minds than advancing to the next round of the playoffs.
In a rematch with a team that bounced them from the state semifinals a year ago, the Chiefs also wanted a healthy dose of revenge.
Thanks to one of their best halves on the season, the Chiefs got both in a 4-0 win Tuesday afternoon at the Smith River Sports Complex.
"We knew we wanted to take back what we lost last year," senior Robbi Jensen said, "and we did it."
With the victory, the Chiefs (13-2 overall) advanced to their fifth straight state semifinal, where they will face Fredericksburg on Friday.
"It is the best feeling in the world to beat them," senior Alanna Ferguson said. "We definitely got our revenge this year."
Despite the four-goal margin of victory, Tuesday's game was tight until the final minutes.
The two teams went into halftime with the contest still scoreless, and the Eagles appeared very dangerous offensively after earning four penalty corners before intermission.
"This team was just evenly matched with us," Chiefs coach Meade Seiy said. "Once again, the defense just stepped it up, and of course the offense - the girls just turned it on in the second half. I can't even describe it."
But a game that was back-and-forth for 30 minutes tilted the Chiefs' way in the opening moments of the second half. Just 35 seconds after intermission, Jensen flicked a lining shot into the back of the net to give Carlisle its first lead.
After the ball advanced up the field due to a couple Covenant fouls, Jensen eventually weaved her way through 40 yards of Eagle defenders after a restart to get herself in position for the shot.
"At halftime we all were talking to each other as a team, how important it was to get it in, and so I think all of us were fired up," Jensen said. "We decided to trust each other, and as long as you trust each other, the ball tends to go into the goal."
After taking the lead, the Chiefs used that momentum to nearly notch a few more goals in the following minutes, but their chances either went just a bit wide of goal or were kicked away by the Covenant keeper.
But with a little more than 17 minutes to go, Ferguson was sent off the pitch for five minutes after being issued a yellow card, giving the Eagles their best chance at scoring all day.
After working the ball deep into Carlisle's side of the field, Covenant earned its fifth penalty corner of the day after a Carlisle violation in the scoring area.
Without Ferguson, one of the "flyers" for Carlisle on penalty corners, the Eagles managed to get off a hard shot from point-blank range. But the ball bounced off Chief keeper Virginia Zentmeyer with a loud thud to preserve the home team's 1-0 edge.
Just minutes after Zentmeyer's save, Jensen doubled that lead after teammate Emily Morgan was fouled while taking a shot, earning the Chiefs a penalty stroke.
Jensen calmly slid the ball into the lower right corner of the goal, and that opened the floodgates offensively for Carlisle.
The Chiefs added two more scores in the final three minutes on goals by Morgan Hill and Emily Morgan.
"We went into the game with an offensive mindset, and we came out with an offensive mindset," Ferguson said. "I feel like this was one of the best games we've played. We were all so positive with each other, and we linked up with one another, and we really found each other up top and in the back."
Zentmeyer made five saves in the game, and the Chiefs bottled up Covenant junior Taylor Brown, who has committed to play at the University of Virginia, from doing much of anything near the goal.
On Friday, Carlisle will travel to Virginia Beach to face Fredericksburg, a team it has played four times in the past four years.
The Chiefs have a 2-2 record in those games, with each team having won a regular-season game and a state-semifinal game against the other.
The game will take place at 5 p.m. at the National Training Center.
"I am so proud of these girls. Robbi and Alanna have been with me for six years," Seiy said. "Just to see them come through the program as little jayvees, and now they're leaving me and going on to playing in college. It's like they're my children, seeing them go. It's amazing. I love this team."
Covenant 0 0 - 0
Carlisle 0 4 - 4
CA - R. Jensen goal, 30:35
CA - R. Jensen goal (penalty stroke), 49:04
CA - M. Hill goal (A. Ferguson assist), 57:23
CA - E. Morgan goal (L. Yeaman assist) 58:11