A visibly frustrated Denise O’Connell strolled the sidelines as the regulation horn sounded in Monday’s 5A South Regional quarterfinals at the National Training Center.
Heading into overtime, her Princess Anne field hockey team had just surrendered a 3-1 second half lead to Menchville and failed to score on a number of opportunities (six corners) down the stretch.
O’Connell had one message for her girls in the huddle before overtime: execute.
In the Cavaliers’ first corner opportunity two minutes into the extra frame, the players had a chance to follow their coach’s order.
On the left side of the net, senior Korena Shaw collected the inlet pass from Lauren Smith and rifled a game-winner past Monarchs goalie Janie Towler, handing Princess Anne a 4-3 victory.
“It was great execution all the way around,” O’Connell said of the final play. “It was a good controlled corner and a good controlled shot. I had been on them all year about executing our corners; this time they scored a goal.”
Princess Anne fell behind 1-0 early in the first half after Menchville’s Morgan Merritt slithered an unassisted score past Cavaliers goalie Lacey Frazier with 19:32 remaining.
The Cavaliers responded less than a minute later when Evie Hanson tallied her first of two goals. Hanson scored her second goal off a nice feed from Shannon Lonergan with 14:33 left in the first half. Michelle Wu scored Princess Anne’s third unanswered goal with 7:44 left in the first frame after collecting a pass from Shaw.
Merrit and Jenna Harlow scored the Monarchs’ two second-half goals that eventually forced overtime.
“Those were very unlike her,” O’Connell said of the two goals Frazier let in. “It was uncharacteristic.”
The Cavaliers advance to a semifinals date with Gloucester at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the National Training Center. The winner will automatically advance to the 5A state tournament.
“It will come down to who’s going to execute and who wants it more,” O’Connell said.