FAIRFIELD — Even though the Lawrence High School field hockey team moved from Class A to B this season, the Bulldogs’ standards remain no different.

“We’re going to take each game by game and we can’t think any team is lower than us,” Lawrence senior Lauren Watson said. “Class B is tough, Class A was tough. We had good players, we gained good players. It’s a give and take kind of thing.”

Watson made sure the Bulldogs got off to a strong start in her team’s Class B debut Thursday afternoon, as she scored a pair of goals in the first three minutes of the second half to pace Lawrence (1-0) to a 4-1 win over Nokomis (0-1).

“It’s a learning curve for us. We don’t know who to watch, who we’re supposed to be keying on,” Lawrence coach Shawna Robinson said. “We know Nokomis has a tradition of winning. They have more state championships than we do, so we knew they were going to be stiff competition.”

The Bulldogs jumped ahead with 19 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the opening half when McKenna Rogers scored off an assist from Dominique Lewis, but Lawrence could not maintain its lead despite holding a distinct advantage in time of possession.

Nokomis had just one shot on goal and one corner in the opening half, but it also resulted in its only goal when Libby Dunivan ripped a shot from the top of the circle that bounced off the pad of Lawrence goalkeeper Emily Tozier and into the cage with 5:42 remaining in the half.

A pep talk from Robinson at halftime seemed to focus her team, however, as Watson and the Bulldogs did not waste any time in responding.

“Pep talk, stern talking to, it’s a little bit of the same,” Watson said. “Any time coach talks to us we all try to take it in, try to be as serious as we can with it, take it to heart and try to apply everything that we learn back out on the field.

“We hate to see our coach as upset as we’ve seen her before when we come off the field. It’s hard for her to put her time in and us not give her the respect back on the field.”

Watson gave Lawrence the lead for good at the 28:12 mark of the second half when she intercepted a high clear attempt in the Nokomis defensive zone, calmly advanced the ball into the circle and fired a low shot into the back, left corner of the cage. From there it took just one minute and 11 seconds for the Bulldogs to double their advantage, as this time Watson redirected a ball sent towards the net by Lilla Tilton-Flood.

“If we came out fired up I feel like it would have been a totally different game than it was,” Nokomis coach Sabrina Vaillancourt said. “Unfortunately, there are just some things that we have to improve on. We are still a young team and we are going to build from that. This conference is very good and we have to prepare for each game.”

Nokomis managed to mount a strong offensive push that resulted in a few shots on goal and a corner midway through the half, but ultimately the possession proved fruitless. Lewis rounded out the scoring with 1:26 remaining in the contest when she cleaned up a rebound in front of the net off an initial shot from Watson.

For the game, Lawrence held a 18-4 advantage in shots on goal and 11-2 lead in corners.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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