Bruton High field hockey coach Joe Dougherty isn't a moral victories kind of guy, and, since his Panthers went 8-0 to start the 2012 season, he hasn't had to be. Nonetheless, he was able to remain upbeat following his team's 5-1 loss to Tabb (10-0) on Wednesday.
There is the consolation of the Panthers (8-1) going ahead 1-0 in the first five minutes. Hardly any Bay Rivers District team has been ahead of the four-time defending A/AA state champion Tigers during regulation the past five seasons.
"A lot of teams walk onto the field and feel they can't compete with Tabb," Dougherty said. "We know we can compete with them: that's the first hurdle to get over.
"The number one things for us is effort. If the effort is good I tell the girls not to look at the scoreboard."
Dougherty said his players belief in one another and their closeness has been a key to the program's increasing success during his three seasons as coach. The Panthers were 2-14 the season before he took over. They improved to 10-7 in 2010, then went 15-6 and came within an overtime loss of reaching the state tournament a year ago.
He said there are few year-round players on the team, but is happy with the talent of a young group that lists only two seniors. Abby Cole, DaSha Hill and Summer Zacharias have combined for 80 percent of the goals thus far.
Carley Shannon and Kassie Abbinanti have been steady in the midfield. Taylor Everette and Jessica Holmes have been defensive standouts.
The Panthers are at Williamsburg Christian on Thursday.
Tabb field hockey coach Wendy Wilson was pleased to see her team fall behind against a quality opponent, because she wanted to see how they respond. The five-goal response included two goals each from Aly Harmatz and Lauren Mitcham, and penalty stroke by Betsy Wusk.
Wilson cited several Tigers for their strong play. She said Taylor Omweg did well matching Bruton's considerable speed, that Marissa O'Brien was a defensive anchor, that Hayley Mills covered ground nicely from side to side, and that Harmatz was good as always at pressuring the opposition goal.
Dougherty was impressed.
"They're a tremendous team and I would not be surprised to see the go 24-0 again," he said. "They have heart, they hustle and have great coaching."
Former York AD honored
Sam Jackson, who retired in 2011 after a 39-year coaching and teaching career at York High, will be inducted on Friday into the Gloucester High Athletic Hall of Fame. Jackson attended T.C. Walker, the black high school in Gloucester at the time.
He starred in football, baseball and track, and was voted most athletic by his classmates and best all-around by his teachers. His coaching career at York included two AA state cross country championships, four AA state track runner-up finishes, as well as national and state recognition for his accomplishments as athletic director.
Line of the week
Our Bay Rivers District football Line of the Week award goes to Tabb, whose offensive interior played its best game to date in the Tigers' 28-13 upset of Poquoson. Matt Staul, Hayden Taylor, Jacob Rose, Nick Beaton and Matt Youker paved the way for 100-plus-yards rushing efforts from Jake Brown and Brent Hinson, as well as 95 yards passing (on 8-of-12 completions) by quarterback Dan Schiele.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun