'Long overdue' victory for Lafayette, clinched in dramatic shootout

— Lafayette's jubilant reaction to its dramatic shootout win Tuesday over Warhill in field hockey supplied adequate summary for what the victory meant to a Rams team that was in need of celebration.

It wasn't the first trip to overtime this season for Lafayette and first-year coach Kelley Engstrom, a former Menchville High head coach and Tabb assistant. This time, the Rams finally came out on top courtesy of a kick save from sophomore goalie Jackie Boesler to clinch a 3-2 shootout win after the teams played to a scoreless draw through regulation and 15 extra minutes.

As Lafayette secured its second win of the season and first in Bay Rivers District play, the Rams sprinted to Boesler before swarming her.

"It's long overdue," Engstrom said. "We've had some tough games. This is our third or fourth overtime, our second shootout."

Boesler hadn't participated in the previous shootout, but came away with three stops Thursday to preserve the win on Senior Night for Emaline Carr, Kelsey Huckins, McKayla Guerrero, Devin Lucas, and Olivia Nice.

"It was my first time ever doing this so I didn't really know exactly what to do," Boesler said, "but I just sort of waited and went out and hoped I got it. And it worked out."

Boesler's older sister, Gabby, was a standout in goal for Lafayette a season ago before graduating. Engstrom said based on Jackie's recent progress and given her lack of experience in net, she could be poised for similar success.

Carr, Huckins and Laura Walker scored the Rams' shootout goals and Kaitlyn Lassiter and Braelyn Lassiter each scored for Warhill (5-2), which lost for the second time in district play.

Lafayette had several penalty corners denied near the end of regulation, but Warhill created more chances in overtime including a well-struck shot from straight on, inside the circle, from Kaitlyn Lassiter that Boesler kicked away.

"I thought we were the more dominant team," Warhill coach Kristen Boykin said. "We spent a lot of time on their defensive side of the field. We just couldn't capitalize in the circle."

The previous district loss for Warhill came to Grafton and the Lions already own a win over Poquoson, a team that has given Warhill fits the past couple of seasons in postseason play.

The Lions needed to replace almost the entirety of its attack entering the season after losing Jessica Cooke, Kayla Cooke and Haley Smith to Newberry College in South Carolina.

"The girls have stepped up," Boykin said. "I told them at the beginning of the season they had big shoes to fill and they did. They surprise me every game and they get better every game."

Boykin said junior Braelyn Lassiter has been phenomenal as a central midfielder and senior Casey Broady's play has been vital on both sides of the field.

Warhill visits Tabb and hosts York next week while Lafayette steps out of district Monday for a home game against Nansemond River before another local showdown Wednesday at Wanner Stadium against Jamestown.

"We started off October with a win," Engstrom said "We just need to continue it."

Holtzman can be reached by phone at 757-298-5830.

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