There are plenty of new experiences for Fauquier's field hockey team this season. The Falcons have moved from AA to AAA and now play in the Cedar Run District and also start up to six underclassmen. Fortunately for Fauquier, All-Extra senior forward Sarah Woods can teach her teammates what it's like to learn on the fly.
Woods had never played field hockey until her sophomore year, when her finesse and composure immediately impressed Coach Linda Lee, who put Woods on the varsity team. Woods wasn't a complete beginner, however, having picked up a few tips from her years playing polo.
"The sports are really different," Woods said. "But there is a lot of stick work with both of them, so that helps."
The game came quickly to Woods, and this season's Falcons are proving they are fast learners as well. After an 0-3 start, Fauquier had won three straight, including a victory over last season's Cedar Run champion Osbourn Park, going into Friday's two-day York Invitational Tournament in Yorktown. The tournament, which features teams mainly from the Yorktown area, is generally a barometer of the Falcons' progress, Lee said.
"It's a nice break to our conference schedule and a good bonding experience for us," Lee said. "It's usually the determining factor for our season. It gives us a good boost or keeps the momentum going when we need it."
Foxcroft School is off to a quick start despite an Independent Schools League decision that erased a milestone victory. The league ordered a Sept. 13 game between Foxcroft and Georgetown Visitation, a 1-0 Foxcroft win, replayed because an official's timing error left the game 10 minutes short of the 60-minute standard. The game would have been Foxcroft's first victory over Georgetown Visitation, a traditional ISL power, in more than seven years.
Still, Foxcroft has not let the ruling put a damper on its season. The Foxes (2-0-1, 2-0-1) have victories over Potomac School and Stone Ridge and head into a showdown with No. 1 St. Stephen's/St. Agnes (4-1, 3-0) on Tuesday with confidence, according to second-year coach Katie Kantz.
"Mentally, my girls are really getting fired up," she said. "It's going to be a battle out there on the field. I expect nothing but excellent hockey."
Foxcroft's rematch against the Cubs has been scheduled for Oct. 31 at Foxcroft at 3:15 p.m., according to Georgetown Visitation.
Liberty's not had much success to begin the year but has gained experience against larger AAA schools. The Eagles (2-6) have a victory over rival Fauquier for the second straight season, after never having beaten the Falcons before last year, and also beat Charlottesville, 4-3, in their most recent game Thursday. Jessica Libby has scored goals in both Eagles' wins. . . .
Highland is undergoing a youth movement, with 18 of its 25 players either freshmen or sophomores. The Hawks picked up their first on-field win of the season on Wednesday, defeating Liberty's JV team, 3-0. (Highland also has a forfeited win over Battlefield High School in Prince William County, which didn't show for a game scheduled for early September). Senior All-Extra McClain Bell is one of five Hawks (2-3) who have scored goals this year. Bell has 16 goals in her career.