After winning the inaugural Conference 10 title, the Gloucester High School field hockey team added the first-ever 5A South Region crown to its growing list of achievements last week. The Lady Dukes, at 21-0, now have a state title in their sights.
The Gloucester girls faced Kellam in the regional semifinals on Nov. 6 at the National Training Center in Virginia Beach and found themselves in the unique position of being down, 3-0, at the half. Ultimately, the Dukes got their groove back and pulled out a 4-3 victory.
"We were stale and we were flat," said Gloucester coach Mike Miller of his team’s first half play. Miller said his players may have been a bit intimidated by the fact that a win would send them to the state tournament. "I challenged them a bit at the half, reminded them of what got them here," he said and the girls responded by stepping things up in the second half.
Courtnie Greene scored with an assist from Cassidy Goodwin to spark a Gloucester rally at about the 18-minute mark. Kayla Sadler added a second goal with an assist from Maddie Hutson and then tied it with an assist from Tori Harwood with 3:30 remaining.
Miller said the scoring rally put the opponents on their heels and the Kellam players began to bicker with each other. With less than two minutes remaining, Sadler struck the game winner, assisted by Hutson.
"It was probably the most exciting game I’ve ever seen, the most exciting I’ve ever been in," Miller said. "Basically, we went after every loose ball. It was that kind of never-give-up attitude the girls have. So many people had hands in what we did that day. It was the ultimate team effort."