As they prepare for their first-ever playoff games sanctioned by the Virginia High School League (VHSL), both the Hanover Hawks boys and girls teams follow the mantra of boys head coach Ryan Rohde.
“I told the guys that with every game now, we are making Hanover Hawks history,” Rohde noted.
That history began with momentum, and the sweet satisfaction of sweeping a big rival, as the Hanover girls won Monday night at Lee-Davis 13-6, then the boys took center stage, using a 9-0 first half run to roll to an easy 13-7 victory. While the girls finished the regular season 6-5, and the boys finished 9-3, each clinched a home game in the first-ever “Richmond Group” Lacrosse Tournaments that begin Thursday night.
The Hanover girls, as the #4 seed in their eight-team tourney, will host #5 Mills Godwin, while the Hawks boys, the #3 seed, get a rematch with the Confederates, the #6 seed, which will be their third match of the season.
“It’s hard enough beating someone twice in the same season, let alone having to beat them three times,” Rohde explained. “From this point on, we’ll take them as they come.”
After the teams traded goals in the match’s first two minutes, Hanover reeled off the next nine, including three from Alex Fisher, who led the Hawks with four, for a 10-1 halftime lead. By the fourth quarter, Rohde substituted liberally to save starters’ legs for the playoffs and get the bench, as he put it, time against “very quality opponents.”
The Confederates scored four unanswered in the fourth quarter to close the final gap to six and give Rohde some concern.
“We have some work to do. We’ll look at tape, and get ready for Thursday,” Rohde said.
In the doubleheader opener, Hanover was led by senior Kara Kane, who broke the only tie of the game with the first of her game-high five goals with 11:19 left in the first half for a 2-1 Hawks advantage. Lee-Davis hung around, keeping their deficit to as few as four at 9-5 with 9:30 left in the contest, but Hanover pulled away with four unanswered in the final four minutes to seal a winning record in the regular season.
Kane attributed her night to solid foresight, and her coaches’ in-game direction.
“I was looking at the right spots toward the goal,” Kane said. “We really wanted a home playoff game, so we knew we needed this game to have the opportunity. To win it, we had to focus on ground balls, and be more aggressive on them than we were at the start of the game, which is what the coaches talked about at halftime.”
The aggressive play of Kane, Sarah Belcher and Delaney Daniels helped end an early second half Lee-Davis offensive push, positioning the Hawks for their game-clinching run in the end with the simple, but punishing act, of simply owning more possessions.
As enjoyable as it is to leave a rival’s field with a victory, everyone’s record now reverts to 0-0 as the season comes down to every game, every minute, every play. The Hawks will enter the postseason with momentum. The Confederates will enter looking for redemption. The Lee-Davis girls will be seeded seventh and must face Atlee, the #2 seed who finished the regular season with a 10-1 mark.
The Atlee boys team finished 2014 at 10-3, earning the #2 seed in the Richmond Group Boys Tourney. They’ll play seventh-seeded Mills Godwin Thursday.
Patrick Henry’s lacrosse seasons came to an end Friday night in the first round of the “Charlottesville Group” tournaments. The boys team fell at Monticello 12-1, while the girls were defeated by Charlottesville 24-4.