By David Wagner
Outscoring their opponents 51-4 over 19 games, the Western Albemarle varsity field hockey team finished the regular season in strong fashion, including wins over Powhatan and cross-county rival Albemarle High School.
Western’s eight seniors were recognized for their efforts as the Warriors faced the Powhatan Indians October 13. In their previous Jefferson District match-up at Powhatan High School, the Warriors escaped with a 1-0 victory. Senior Night in Crozet was a different story.
Western started slow and Powhatan appeared to be poised for the upset, but the Warriors would have none of it. Western won 3-0 behind goals from seniors Olivia Markopoulos and Hannah Plantz, along with one from junior Madison Masloff. Senior goalie Genna Repich and a stout Western defense kept their District shutout run intact.
A week later the Warriors traveled to Albemarle High School to face the Patriots. It was senior night at AHS this time, and again Western was facing a team they previously beaten 1-0. The game stayed scoreless into the second half. But late in the game, on a short corner, junior Valerie Hajek of Western came up with a huge goal to give the Warriors the go-ahead score. Hajek scored the only goal in the two teams’ previous meeting, too. Western held on for the win, extending their unbeaten, shutout Jefferson District win streak to 10 games. The Warriors finished the regular season with wins over Charlottesville and Orange County to claim the regular season crown. They went into the Conference 22 playoffs with moxie and confidence.
In the playoffs Western Albemarle cruised through the first two rounds behind their strong defense and opportunistic offense. They beat Culpeper 4-0 in the quarterfinals and Fauquier 3-0 in the semi-finals before facing the George Mason Patriots. With Repich in the goal, seniors Lily Stoke and Dylan Wright shored up a very stingy Warrior defense. On offense, the Warriors were led by with Markopoulos, Plantz, Hajek, Masloff, Hanah Weyer, Genevieve Russell and Joie Funk.
In the conference championship game the Warriors expected a tough contest against George Mason. Western’s defense met the test but Mason’s defense was just as impressive. At the end of regulation the Warriors and Patriots were tied at 0-0. The game went to double overtime before the Warriors won on a goal by Masloff.
Western field hockey is 16-3 overall and 12-0 in the Jefferson District going into the championship contests.