Ireland’s goal sparks Vikes’ tie


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WOODBRIDGE The Woodbridge Vikings have wondered for two weeks what they might be capable of if they ever had their entire field hockey team together.

Wednesday night, the Vikings found out and it did amazing things for their confidence.

After throwing makeshift lineups onto the field for three consecutive games for an assortment of reasons that ranged from vacations and summer school to SAT prep classes, Woodbridge finally had all 20 varsity players on the sideline for a non-district game against Brooke Point.

“I felt like we were finally unified on the field,” Vikings coach Jennifer Zickle said.

The Vikings were more than unified. They were inspired, aggressive and competitive. Had it not been for a last-minute regulation goal by Black-Hawks’ link Becca Lysher, they would have also been winners.

After going scoreless for the first 228 minutes of the 2002 season, senior Steffany Ireland produced the Vikings’ first goal midway through the second half and Woodbridge turned another exceptional defensive effort into a 1-1 double-overtime tie.

“We finally put it together and got the transition we’ve been working on,” Ireland said. “We were really pumped up. Everybody’s goal was to get shots.”

With Ireland leading the charge up front, the Vikings combined for a season-high 16 shots three more than the visiting Black-Hawks. Center forward Sarah Ashton and wings Shala Romandelalle and Ashley Zanatta combined for four shots, while the midfield line of Jenna Shepherd, Karen Potter and Liann Shepherd controlled the ball often enough to prevent the Black-Hawks from effectively utilizing their collective team speed.

Brooke Point had hoped to generate scoring opportunities with a five-player front line, but the Vikings midfield line and some sensational defensive play from Smith, center back Heather Grotheer, Kat Cheshire and Sherry Kirk turned away virtually every challenge.

“Coach Zickle has been talking to us about working as a team … It showed out on the field,” Smith said. “Just like North Stafford, they tended to take the ball wide. Our goal was to cut them off taking it to the middle.”

The Vikings hustled all over the field to keep up with Brooke Point’s gifted link Christina Smith and they prevented center forward Allie Sheely from getting open looks in the circle. For 57 minutes, Brooke Point was stifled a dozen times by Woodbridge goalies Heather Rose and Heather Oberg.

As the game clocked clicked under three minutes, the Vikings thought they’d pulled off their first win.

Ireland kept a halftime promise and put Woodbridge in front 1-0 with a rebound blast with 7:50 left in the second half. It was the lift the offense had been seeking and it made the final outcome feel almost as good as a victory.

“There were so many shots. It came over and I hit it with my reverse stick,” Ireland said. “Everything clicked out there. The whole team worked so hard for that one goal. It wasn’t even mine. It was a team goal.”

The Vikings still felt good about their team even after Lysher spoiled their chance at victory. The Black-Hawks’ senior charged into the circle with 2:30 remaining on a breakaway and evened the score with an unassisted shot from the right post.

Brooke Point nearly pulled out a come-from-behind win in the first of two sudden death overtime periods when Sheely fired a shot from the center of the circle, but Rose swept it away with a kick save to preserve a satisfying, morale-boosting tie.

“We’re already close off the field, but it really feels like we’re coming together on the field,” Zickle said. “It took a couple of games, but their patience paid off.”

COLONIAL FORGE 8, FOREST PARK 0: Misty Burton scored three goals Wednesday night and the Colonial Forge Eagles posted their third shutout of the season with a win over Forest Park.

Amie Steele and Ashley Raubenolt tallied two goals each ad Katie Gauthier added one for Colonial Forge.

Forest Park goalie Amanda Meiklejohn had 35 saves.


OSBOURN 3, BROOKE POINT 2: The perfect season was in serious jeopardy until Laura Dwyer came up with a block that got the Osbourn volleyball team going again.

After rallying from a two-game deficit to force a fifth and deciding game, the Eagles fell behind 11-5 on Wednesday and then came back to pull out a dramatic win.

Dwyer’s block on Brooke Point’s University of Maryland-bound hitter Tina Aramburu sparked the Eagles’ final run and they improved to 5-0 overall.

GAR-FIELD 3, STAFFORD : Khelin Eure had seven kills, Emily Beauvais came up with four and Katy Foster served five aces on Wednesday as Gar-Field improved to 2-0 with a 15-10, 15-12, 15-13 victory over Stafford.

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