Defending conference champion rallies in 2nd half to defeat KCHS

WORTON — Carly King covered her mouth in what she described as “disbelief,” and then she started to tear up.

That was after the Kent County High School senior, and her teammates, jumped for joy when King’s well-struck ball from the right side of the circle zipped along the manicured grass field into the cage with a distinctive thump Monday afternoon.

King had scored her first high school goal, Kent County had scored for the first time in eight games, and all of a sudden defending Bayside Conference field hockey champion Washington was being tested.

King carried the ball down the right side and blasted a shot on the run with just 2 minutes, 7 seconds elapsed in the second half to level the score at 1-1.

It was the Trojans’ first goal since a 4-1 loss at Bo Manor in their season opener Sept. 8.

Despite a tremendous game from senior goalie Jaci Manning, Kent was not able to maintain the momentum that King’s goal generated.

Natalie Davis’ goal with 1:50 remaining in the third quarter restored Washington’s lead, 2-1, and the heavily favored Jaguars (5-4) scored twice more in the final frame.

That didn’t seem to spoil Senior Day at KCHS as the seniors — King, Manning, Addisyn Litton and co-captain Drew Davis — rose to the occasion.

This also was a showcase for first-year high school players Taylor Strong (defense), Eliza Loller (midfield) and McKenna Messick (forward), who are stepping up to the challenge of playing at the varsity level.

Controlling the middle of the field, as always, was junior co-captain Kate Cannon.

Manning kept Kent County in the game, making her first eight saves in a scoreless first quarter.

Washington’s Jadyn Williams ended the shutout with 5:31 remaining in the half.

By intermission, Manning had 15 saves;  by the end of the third quarter in what was then a closely contested 2-1 game, the number was 21.

She finished with 23 saves.

Taylor had a defensive save.

Fatigue could have been a factor over the final 15 minutes for the Trojans, who dress only 11 — just enough to fill every position.

The roster includes sophomores Grace Gerstung and Tess Fuchs, who were new to the sport of field hockey last year, and sophomore Aisling Bonass, who is a first-year high school player.

KCHS closes out the regular season with games Friday, Oct. 13 at Kent Island and Wednesday, Oct. 18 at home against North Caroline.

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