Make no mistake, having Josie Mallory patrolling the middle is a huge advantage for Monticello’s field hockey team. Charlottesville certainly knew that Tuesday night in the Mustangs’ 2-0 win over the Black Knights in the teams’ Jefferson District opener.
“They have more experience with Josie Mallory in the middle and that was the big difference,” said CHS coach Lindsay Clark. “.”
For Monticello, in fact, it’s sometimes about asking Mallory to do a little less.
“Josie sees things well, she’s an incredible athlete and player,” said first year Monticello coach Gwendolyn Apgar. “Sometimes we have to pull her back because she wants to do so much.”
Mallory helped the Mustangs maintain possession, created chances and prevented advances by the Black Knights from turning into chances of their own. With speedy Caleigh Smith finding Mimi Leliveld on a tremendous cross midway through the first half and Kierstyn Zimmerman tacking on a second goal for Monticello to give it a 2-0 lead, that was more than enough for the Mustangs to pick up a critical win. Monticello was aggressive from the start against the Black Knights and that made a huge difference.
“Their play is elevating but we want that intensity, that aggression and not falling asleep,” Apgar said. “We’re just kind of working on that side of it.”
With Mallory, Smith, April Carter and Zimmerman back, Apgar has a pretty seasoned group, with captains on each line. That experience gives them a serious leg up and they’ve gotten off to a good start, knocking off E.C. Glass before falling to Culpeper. Tuesday was a big step in the right direction and Mallory’s play all over the field had a huge impact. Zimmerman and Mallory work well as center midfielders together and often can make adjustments on the fly without running it by coaches. Generally, they’re going to make the right call at the right time.
“They’re doing a good job of talking to each other where sometimes they make the switch without us making the switch for them,” Apgar said. “We’re adapting our formations and adapting our lineup based on the teams we’re playing. We’re starting to see the lineups and formations that are working best for us.”
Charlottesville meanwhile, created a number of chances despite the Mustangs’ best efforts but couldn’t put one in the back of the net. With a host of new faces in the mix, the Black Knights are still working out some kinks.
“We have some young players playing big roles, two sophomores in the middle and a freshman as a high forward,” Clark said. “It has been about trying to get them to calm down and start growing up into a varsity role and they did that tonight. I don’t think the score really reflects how even the game was. It’s coming along for us.”
The Mustangs will get a shot at avenging their lone loss so far this year against Culpeper Thursday while the Black Knights will try and bounce back the same night with a home clash against Orange County.