NSA boys under-manned, but not out-gunnedPublished 10:39pm Friday, March 8, 2013
Nansemond-Suffolk Academy fields a solid boy’s lacrosse team this season, but it has little margin for injury.
“We are young, and we don’t have the depth that we’ve had in the past,” head coach Jeff Forman said. “Nineteen is a small team. We usually like to carry around 22 to 24.”
“We don’t have very many players, but we have good players,” sophomore defender David Gough said.
Gough is one of the young athletes on the team, which includes only three seniors.
Forman has coached his way up the age groups at NSA, serving as JJV coach two years ago, junior varsity coach last year and now beginning his first season for the varsity team. He is not letting the nature of the roster keep him from forming high expectations.
“We’re in Division II, so I want to be in the Division II (state) playoffs,” he said. “I would like to finish in the top two to three in the TCIS.”
Last season, the Saints finished 6-13 overall, 2-4 in the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools. Forman explained why finishing among the top teams in the TCIS might be the best accomplishment of all.
“TCIS is probably more competitive than the states because we have Cape Henry, Norfolk Academy, Hampton Roads Academy,” he said. “Those three teams are three very good teams. If we can break into that top three or top four, I would be very pleased, and if we could finish in the top three to four in the state, I’d be very pleased.”
He said that the schedule is manageable this year, and that the Saints should be competitive.
Foremost among the players that Forman is looking to for leadership is senior offensive midfielder Harris Howell.
“Harris Howell is our captain, he’s a fifth-year varsity player,” Forman said. “He’s very good. He can play on the college level, he has very good stick work, he’s able to put the ball in the goal. So, this is his team.”
“My other two captains, Parker Mizelle is the leader on the defense and then we have Will Riddick, who is the leader on the offense and midfield leader,” Forman said. “He’s going to run (the) midfield with Harris Howell.”
Those are the three team captains, but Forman said he is also looking for “a lot of leadership and a lot of excellent play from Dan Hotte, who’s our goalie.”
Hotte is a junior who has progressively seen more play on the varsity team each year of his high school career. Forman said he believed Hotte made honorable mention for the TCIS last year.
“I’m looking for him to make a move and be either first- or second-team goalie this year,” he said. “He’s that good.”
Gough should be a strong presence on defense.
“We have Addison Peak on attack, who had quite a few goals and assists last year,” Forman said. “I’m looking for him to lead the attack.”
Remaining healthy will be pivotal for the Saints.
“If we get a few injuries, we’re going to be in trouble,” Forman said.
Barring that, the first-year coach is confident in this group of players.
“We’re a young team, we don’t have a lot of depth, but I think we have a good attitude, and the starting guys we put on the field should be able to hold their own with really any team that we play this year,” he said.
The Saints begin the season this coming Wednesday when they host Grassfield High School.