After a scoreless first half, Michelle Knizner recorded her 21st goal of the season to give the Hawks field hockey squad a 1-0 lead on Lee-Davis. Undeterred by the deficit, the unbeaten Confederates quickly responded to even the game two minutes later.
The game remained knotted at 1-1 and appeared to be headed for overtime until senior Laura Blunt sent the ball into the circle with under two minutes to go. Sitting on the back post was Kara Kane who redirected the ball into the back of the net for the game-winning goal.
“I was trying to be in a position where I could get a shot off,” Kane said, “When I saw it go in it was really exciting, I didn’t know what to do.”
In the first meeting between the two teams, Lee-Davis won 6-1.
“We lost to them pretty bad the first time, so that was a pretty big blow to our early season prognosis of how we though we were going to do,” Hanover coach Sarah Botorff said, “We really worked hard to come back and pull out the win against them.”
Botorff noted that the victory provided the confidence needed to win down the stretch.
“That win just gave us some motivation to really start doing the little things right, and keep that level of play high,” she said, “That’s what we’re going to need to do if we are going to advance.”
The win was key for the Hawks’ postseason chances. In the new VHSL alignment, field hockey powerhouse Maggie Walker Governor’s School is a member of Conference 20 with the Hawks. A win would help to ensure that Hanover would be on the opposite side of the draw from the Green Dragons come Conference tournament time. Both teams that reach the conference final advance to regionals.
“We couldn’t afford to lose another game,” Botorff said.
Hanover continued their winning streak with shut out wins over Varina, Glen Allen, Highland Springs, and Atlee on senior night. The defense has been piloted by seniors Devon Altman and Camille Drozdowski.
The Hawks will enter the Conference tournament as the #2 seed with a 14-2 record.
“The Conference tournament, it’s new so it’s kind of unknown.” Botorff said, “We’ve played a lot of the teams once already but it hasn’t been on the same playing surface and it hasn’t been single elimination,”
The Hawks have high postseason expectations as a senior-heavy team.
“I think our team has the potential to get to states because we are very experienced,” Altman said, “I think our team chemistry on and off the field sets us apart from other teams.”
The last time the Hawks posted a 14-2 regular season record, their fate was just that – a berth in the VHSL state tournament.