By Owen Gotimer
Ashburn (August 23, 2016) — If playing in one of Loudoun County’s first varsity field hockey games was not historic enough, Freedom High School sophomore Natalie Shand figured out a way to top her night. In the Eagles’ 3-1 win over rival John Champe High School on August 22, Shand scored the first ever hat trick in LCPS field hockey history.
“Scoring a hat trick is actually the best feeling in the world. I was really proud of myself,” Shand said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. I can’t do anything without my teammates.”
“We have a lot of girls coming in with experience, so we’re just trying to get everyone on the same page. The girls have just taken it on themselves to get on the same page,” Freedom head coach Michele Gibbons said. “They truly are one team. We have a lot of girls, but they’re able to come together as one.”
Shand continued to elevate her team and the Eagles’ momentum when she scored again right out of halftime to give Freedom a two-goal cushion. Then halfway through the second half, Shand put the icing on the cake when she scored her third goal – her first career hat trick – putting the game out of reach for the Knights.
“She brings a lot of knowledge and experience, so she can see some things that other girls might not be able to see right away. Then she can tell the girls on the field and help them out,” Gibbons said. “She goes above and beyond. She’s all about getting everyone on the same page and helping everyone. It brings the whole team up another level.”
As the Eagles had all but locked up the first win in their program’s history, the Knights wanted to put at least one goal on the board before the clock expired. John Champe got its answer when senior Annie Dunlap finally connected on a goal in the game’s waning minutes.
“John Champe is an amazing school with super athletic girls, so we were a little nervous,” Shand said. “We knew we just had to play our game.”
Field Hockey: Lady Eagles open program history with win over rival Knights. Freedom 3, John Champe 1 FINAL
— LoCoSports (@LoCoSports) August 23, 2016
As the stands started to fill in for game two of the opening night field hockey double header, Shand wanted the community to know that the only way to understand and appreciate field hockey is to come out to watch it.
“Even if you don’t know the sport, come out and watch it,” Shand said. “Come out and learn it and cheer us on.”
1H 23:29 F Natalie Shand
2H 27:46 F Natalie Shand
2H 15:15 F Natalie Shand
2H 1:28 JC Annie Dunlap