The Stafford and Woodbridge field hockey teams will join forces after this season to play in the National Field Hockey Festival in West Palm Beach, Fla. Nine players from each school will form a team called High Voltage Virginia.

Woodbridge Coach Kelly Sanders will coach the team at the Thanksgiving weekend event, with Stafford Coach Robin Woodie acting as her assistant. Sanders was Woodie's assistant at Woodbridge in 1996 and 1997, before Woodie moved to Stafford.

Sanders played on a regional team in the college division of the tournament in the late 1980s when she played at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina.

"It was such a great event that I've always talked about going back," Sanders said. "This year, Robin asked if I was serious and said, 'Let's go.' Back when I went, there were not as many high school field hockey teams, but it has grown tremendously. There will be teams from all over the country."

Sanders said she expects all the seniors from the two teams to make the trip but that the final roster has not been set. She also said she hopes each school will be able to send a separate team next year. . . .

Woodbridge's game yesterday against North Stafford was postponed because of rain. It will be played at Woodbridge on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. Stafford's game against Colonial Forage was also postponed but had not been rescheduled yesterday.

Good Pairings

Emmanuel Christian volleyball coach Jim Sample likes things that come in pairs:

* A new pair of assistant coaches--Rhetta Nicholson and Jen Frack--are, in Sample's opinion, one of the main reasons the Flames are off to a 3-0 start in Delaney Athletic Conference matches.

* A pair of senior setters--Lori Holloway and Megan Patrick--have given Sample the luxury of using an eight-player substitution pattern that helps keep the Flames' defense consistent.

* And a pair of senior middle hitters--Michelle Pujals and Kasey Crotty--have accounted for about 75 percent of the team's kills, Sample said.

Emmanuel Christian (4-2) lost twice in the Fredericksburg Tip-Off Tournament but has won three straight, including a five-game victory over five-time defending conference champion Fredericksburg Christian.

Sample said Nicholson, a former assistant coach at Evangel Christian, and Frack, who recently graduated from Bridgewater College, where she was the conference player of the year, have added insight and experience.

"I knew we were going to be good this season, but we have been winning some very close games, and that has been encouraging," Sample said. "Having two assistants around all the time has really helped. Rhetta works with the setters; Jen works with the hitters; and I set up the net and bring the water."

On a Roll

None of the top three seeds on the Woodbridge tennis team has lost a match this season, and the Vikings are 6-0 as a team. Mariko Esannason, Emily Heberer and Nicole Dukes are undefeated in singles play, and Dukes and Rachel Heberer have not lost at the No. 2 doubles slot.

The Vikings' closest call so far was a 5-4 victory over Osbourn on Sept. 9.

"I'm pleased with the overall progress of the team," Coach Lewis Forrest said. "Just because you have five of six girls come back from last season does not guarantee anything."

Because of rainouts, the Vikings square off against Gar-Field twice in five days. They travel to Gar-Field on Friday, then host the Indians next Wednesday. Both matches start at 3:30.

Heated Competition

Hylton golf coach Rick Pennline has noticed an interesting phenomenon on his team. Because there are seven golfers competing for six spots, the intensity of play often has been higher in practice than in matches.

"We haven't lost a match, but they tend to play better against each other than they do against other schools right now," Pennline said. "Everyone from the top on down is putting their spot on the line in practice, and they battle so hard that the matches are almost anticlimactic. It's not that they don't respect their opponents, it's just that they all want to catch the guy in front of them."

Pennline likes the pressure that the intrasquad competition creates, but eventually he will have to choose six golfers for the Cardinal District tournament Oct. 6.

"To be honest, it will be a very tough decision," Pennline said. "Hopefully, they will slug it out themselves."

Vikings Have Solid Showing

Woodbridge's girls cross-country team finished first and the boys finished third in its division at the Briarwood Invitational in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Five Vikings' girls finished in the top 20: Catherine Seguin, (4th, 21 minutes 42 seconds); Meagan Cleary (10th, 22:18); Stefanie Churchill (11th, 22:21); Kelsey Shivly (17th, 22:43); and Sarah Overmyer (20th, 22:52).

The girls finished with 62 points, easily besting Coatesville (Pa.), which had 93 points.

For the boys, Casey Frazier (4th, 17:12) and Mike Lyng (7th, 17:20) were the top finishers. Derek Grotheer finished 11th with a time of 17:33.

CAPTION: Gar-Field's Katie Cornwell, right, blocks Katie Sutton of Woodbridge during Indians' 15-11, 11-15, 15-11, 16-14 win last night in Dale City. Story on Page D3.