Burke area high school field hockey teams wrapped up regular season play last week and were set to embark in their respective district tournaments beginning this week.
Fairfax High, a member of the Liberty District, concluded regular season play with an impressive 15-3-1 overall record. The Rebels, under head coach Amber Beaudoin, were the No. 3-seed for this week’s district tournament and set to face No. 6 Madison (4-9-1) earlier this week in first round play.
The Fairfax-Madison first round winner was scheduled to play again on Wednesday night, Oct. 20, in one of two scheduled district semifinals games at Madison. Then, on Friday night at 6, the district championship game will take place, also at Madison.
The loser of Tuesday’s Madison-Fairfax playoff game saw its season end. The winner, while advancing to the district semifinals, will also earn a seeding at next week’s region playoffs.
Fairfax and Madison played one another last week in both teams’ final district game of the regular season. Madison, which has struggled in close games all season, was in position to win that Oct. 13 home contest against the Rebels. The game was deadlocked at 1-1 with eight minutes remaining before Fairfax scored two goals, both off of corner play setups, to take control of the game and win 3-1.
Now, a week later, Fairfax and Madison were set to meet again in the postseason.
Beaudoin, going into the first round playoff meeting against the Warhawks, said a key to that contest would be her team’s ability to hold down Madison forward Belle Tunstall, one of the district’s better scorers and players.
“Madison’s best player is Belle. It’s always hard to beat a team like Madison back to back,” said Beaudoin.
Fairfax, in all but one game this season, has outshot its opponents. The Rebels have also gotten more corner opportunities than their foes. The only time they were outshot and out cornered in a game came last week in a 2-1 non-district loss at Westfield on Thursday, Oct. 14.
The one area of concern for coach Beaudoin has been Fairfax’s struggles in finishing off scoring rushes with goals. The team lost two district games by 1-0 outcomes during the regular season – the setbacks coming to Marshall as well as regular season champion Jefferson.
“We’ve had some problems this year putting the ball in the goal even though we’ve had the stronger team,” said Beaudoin, whose team is made up mostly of juniors and has just two seniors on the roster. “When we score early we play better. We’ve scored early in games most of the year.”
Fairfax finished tied with Marshall for second place in the regular season but lost a tie-breaker and was therefore seeded No. 3 for districts. Jefferson was the top seed, while Marshall was No. 2. The No. 4-7 seeded teams were Langley, McLean, Madison and South Lakes.
A year ago, Fairfax captured its first district tournament title in 12 years.
<b>THE LEE LANCERS</b> enjoyed a winning regular season, going 8-7-1 overall. At the Patriot District tournament earlier this week, Lee saw its season end with a first round loss to region power Lake Braddock, 3-1, on Monday, Oct. 18. Lee’s goal in the loss came from Kyoung Park, off an assist from Emily Blake.
During regular season play, Lee went 2-5 against district competition – the two wins coming versus West Potomac and Annandale.
“We had some close, heartbreaking losses,” said Lee head coach Lindsay Jones. “All the games were neck in neck till the end which made it even harder when we didn’t come up with the win.”
Park, a senior forward, earned First Team All-District recognition. She was the lone First Team selection for the Lancers, although junior goalie Laura Geter made Second Team and both Blake, a senior midfielder, and junior defender Nicole Puddy earned honorable mention status.
The Lancers struggled over the latter part of the season, losing six of their last seven games – including the playoff setback to the Bruins.
“It’s been a tough last couple of weeks but I feel we have plenty to build on and work through in the off season,” said Jones. “I would like to wish all my seniors good luck next year.”
<b>LAKE BRADDOCK</b> has enjoyed a remarkable season. The Bruins wrapped up a 14-1 regular season with a 4-0 win over T.C. Williams last Friday night at Minnie Howard Field in Alexandria. Earlier last week, Lake Braddock had won 3-0 shutout games over both West Potomac and Lee.
Earlier this week, the Bruins won their first two Patriot District tournament games with wins over West Potomac, 4-0, at home on Monday, Oct. 18, and Annandale, 2-0, on Tuesday at Lee High School. Lake Braddock, under head coach Diane Miller, was set to meet South County in the district title game on Thursday night, Oct. 21 at 7. That game will take place at Lee.
<b>SOUTH COUNTY</b>, under head coach Leah Conte, reached the Patriot District tournament finals with playoff wins earlier this week over visiting West Springfield, 4-0, on Monday, and Woodson, 2-1, on Tuesday at Lee High School. The Stallions were set to take on Lake Braddock in the title game on Thursday.
South County went 12-4 during the regular season schedule. The Stallions defeated visiting Madison, 3-1, in their final regular season game last Friday, Oct. 15. The team entered this week’s districts as the No. 3 seed.
“We completed our regular season on a strong note,” said Conte, prior to the district tournament. “I feel as if we are playing really good hockey right now. The team has been working very hard on the mental aspect of the game and is definitely physically ready for post-season play.”
South County, over the latter part of the season, received particularly stellar play from sophomore forwards Stephanie Halsted and Alexis Schramm. The Stallions entered Thursday’s finals having won six straight games and 10 of their past 11. They are playing their best field hockey at the right time.
“Confidence, composure and discipline have been the driving force behind the team over the past few weeks,” said Conte. “Entering [districts] our focus is on `us’ playing for each other and taking one game at a time.”
“This is the most exciting part of the season, you prepare all year for this and some of the best hockey in the Northern Region is being played in the Patriot District,” said Conte, prior to the district playoffs. “It will be a fun tournament and we are all looking forward to it.”