After whiffing on multiple opportunities and allowing an uncharacteristic goal in the first half of Friday’s 6A state semifinal match against T.C Williams, the Cox field hockey team was frustrated with a 1-1 tie.
With their season on the line, Falcons coach Julie Swain reminded her girls what got them there.
“I said play basic Cox hockey,” Swain said she told her players. “And it will make a difference.”
The Falcons responded with an offensive onslaught — three goals in a four-minute stretch of the second half — that put the game away 4-1.
Cox’s Phoebe Large started the show nine minutes into the second half with a scrambling goal following a corner, giving the Falcons a 2-1 lead. Three minutes later, Alex Brewer tipped in a missed shot-on-goal, and assisted on Ashley Drum’s goal just one minute later. With 17:37 left in the game, Cox had a 4-1 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“That first goal got them going,” Swain said. “It was good energy.”
Falcons junior Cassidy Atchison notched the game’s first goal off a feed from Brewer with 11:19 left in the first half. T.C. Williams’ Tatiana Gold responded eight minutes later with a score that was assisted by Alex Milliken.
Gold’s goal was the only shot on goal for the Titans in the game. The Falcons out-shot them 23-1. Cox also created 16 corner opportunities while holding T.C Williams to zero.
“It’s a whole team effort on defense, and we did a pretty good job,” Swain said. “You can just never, ever, ever take a breath in a game like that. At this level, you can’t have any moments to sit back on your heels.”
The Falcons surely can’t sit back on their heels against First Colonial in Saturday’s 6A state final.
The two clubs will play a rematch of last year’s state championship, which Cox won 1-0. This year, they’ve already played three times — Cox took the regular season match and the South Region title game, while First Colonial won the conference title.
“Every second matters,” Swain said of tomorrow’s tilt. “We have to compete for every single ball. It’s just a difference of finishing; it really is. It’s going to be who can handle the pressure.”