JAMES CITY — Monday’s Bay Rivers District field hockey matchup between Jamestown and Bruton at Wanner Stadium was beneficial for each side as they prepare for conference playoffs next week.
Jamestown won its third game in a row, 2-0, while the inexperienced Bruton side led by first-year coach Devin Ortiz had one of its better outings of the season despite giving up a pair of second-half goals.
The Eagles (5-9) followed their biggest win of the season last week over Lafayette by overcoming a fairly sluggish start before dominating possession and continuing their strong run of play.
“I feel like we came out a little bit slow,” Jamestown coach Jen Schrum said, “especially compared to our previous game against Lafayette, but as the halves went on, we got better and into our own groove.”
Jamestown senior Brigitte Hunnicutt, the hero of the shootout victory over the Rams, knocked in the go-ahead goal Monday at 22:52 following a penalty corner.
Then sophomore Molly Lee put the game away with 3:33 left, collecting a pass from senior Abby Smith and crossing a Bruton defender up, going right to left, and slapping a backhanded grounder into the back of the net from close distance.
Results haven’t necessarily shown it, but Ortiz has liked the Panthers effort led by goalkeeper Maysen Elliott and forwards Macy Marotta and Lauren Roth.
Midfielder Shannon Cadwell has also been on good form as of late for junior-laden Bruton, according to Ortiz.
“Winning-wise, we’re not up there yet,” said the Panthers’ coach. “But this is the best game they’ve played. They’re finally meshing into being a team and finally realizing how I work, being a new coach, and they’re very young, so a lot of them have never played varsity before. They’re finally figuring out how to work together on and off the field.”
The story is similar for Jamestown as it relates to team cohesion. Schrum doesn’t like naming individual standouts. From the onset, the Eagles have been a team-first bunch, one that’s senior-heavy.
“We are playing more like a team and I don’t think that one player necessarily outshines another,” Schrum said, “but I think, together we have been phenomenal this year.”
There hasn’t been a more thrilling moment for Jamestown than in the win over Lafayette, especially since the Rams claimed a close one in the clash of rivals last season.
After a scoreless regulation, Jamestown prevailed last week courtesy of shootout goals from Sydney Paul and Hunnicutt and four saves from goalie Hannah Gaul, who only needed to make one stop against Bruton.
Hunnicutt’s winner set off a raucous scene reminiscent of Lafayette’s shootout win over Warhill, about a week prior.
“There is always a lot of hype geared towards the Lafayette-Jamestown game, so we had the stands packed and it was very exciting,” Schrum said. “We lost to them last year in overtime, by one goal, I believe. So it was good to get our morale and confidence up.”
Of course, that’s crucial as conference tournaments creep up.
Jamestown will close its district season Tuesday against York while Bruton plays Warhill Tuesday and will close its regular season against Lafayette at William and Mary’s Busch Field on Friday.
Bruton figures to be competitive in the 2A Conference 33 tourney, potentially in the four-seed range while Jamestown expects to be a three or four in the 4A Conference 18 playoffs.
Grafton locked up the Bay Rivers title Monday with a win over Smithfield after it upset rival Tabb last week, ending the Tigers’ streak of 80 district regular-season victories dating back to start of the 2008 season.