Durham Academy girls field hockey finds itself in a familiar position – atop the leaderboard. The Cavaliers look primed for another run at a TSIAC championship.
DA is 10-1 and winner of its past eight matches. Along the way, the Cavaliers have defeated Charlotte Myers Park High, PAC-6 4-A East Chapel Hill and Jordan, and two of their toughest Charlotte rivals in the playoffs: Providence Day and Charlotte Country Day schools.
Their only loss is a 1-0 defeat in their first matchup against East Chapel Hill last month in the Play 4 the Cure Tournament at Cary Academy. All of the seniors were away at a Senior Challenge that weekend. Junior Lakin Barry was named to the all-tournament team.
Coach Judy Chandler admits that this squad could be special.
“They have the potential to be really good,” said Chandler, whose team has seven shutouts. “We’ve already beaten two teams we normally meet in the playoffs, and expect to see them again. They have really improved.”
Chandler’s mantra is defense, and the Cavaliers produced arguably their best defensive effort of the season Friday against Charlotte Latin School in a 1-0 win.
Senior co-captain Jordan Barry gave the Cavaliers the only score they would need in the first period with a pretty hesitation mood that caught the goalie off-guard just enough to shoot the ball between her legs into the net.
DA’s aggressiveness kept Charlotte Latin on the defensive for almost the entire second period, while goalkeeper Isabel Gutierrez fought off several corner kicks to keep the shutout intact.
“She had some tough shots to handle, but she’s grown so much in that position since her freshman year,” Chandler said. “If we can continue to play as a team and not get caught up in individual performances, this team can be special.”
DA hosts Cary Academy Friday at 4:30 p.m.
New Eagles to the nest
LeVelle Moton’s assistant coaches keep leaving, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Several have moved on to head coaching or better paying jobs, leaving Moton to replenish his staff supply.
Chris Skinkis spent three seasons at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, widely regarded as one of the top community colleges in the country.
“Chris was arguably the top recruiter in junior college basketball,” Moton said. “Here at NCCU we will rely on his relationships and connections to some of the top-tier talent across the board.”
Jake Williams has been named director of basketball operations. Williams previously worked as a student assistant under Middle Tennessee State head coach Kermit Davis.
“His experience at MTSU and the way he enhanced the overall effectiveness of the program will be relief upon as we aspire to do the same here,” Moton said.
Derrick Mallison is now video coordinator after being team manager, and Justin Bradley has been promoted to graduate manager.