Covenant moves on to state semifinal with big second half

Whether it was a case of the Eagles coming to life in the second half, or Nansemond-Suffolk rising to Covenant’s level in the first is uncertain. But in either case the result was cut and dry as the Eagles hung on to a narrow lead early only to blow the doors wide open in the second to cruise to a 5-0 in their VISAA Division 2 quartefinal.

“I played in the tournament starting my freshman year, and even back then, sometimes the seeding meant something and sometimes it didn’t” said Covenant coach Kate Lavie. “(Nansemond) came out today ready to play and wanting it and it really showed in the first half.”

Not only did the Saints keep Covenant to just one score, a goal from Virginia  Hill, but they also put the Eagles defense to the test as well as goalkeeper Kelsey Rund, however, to no avail. Possesions were limited to the middle of the field for the most part with back and forth play here and there until Covenant came on strong at the end.

That carried over the break into the second half.

“We weren’t connecting on the passes early but I felt like we got it going late in the first,” Hill said. “It opened up spaces after that. We got more comfortable and slowed down and played our game.”

It certainly showed. Hill netted her second goal on a pass from freshman Finley Cooke and when the Eagles grabbed a more relaxed and comfortable 2-goal lead, the flood gates opened and the Saints spent the rest of the game in their own defensive end.

Shortly after Hill’s goal, Amanda Voltz made it a 3-0 game on a pass from Hill on a break away with fifteen minutes to play. Ten minutes later Taylor Brown got in on the action when she turned a spin move into a goal just seconds after Hill single handedly broke up a short corner on the other end of the field. For good measure, Mallory Crandall added the fifth and final goal in a triumphant return to action. It’s the first time the senior’s been able to play since she helped her team top St. Anne’s-Belfield back in early October.

“It was really nice to be back at full health,” Lavie said. “And honestly, having this group of seniors really makes the difference for us.”

Covenant heads to their semifinal match in Virginia Beach at 3 p.m. on Friday.