NSA builds momentum despite lossPublished 10:56pm Thursday, April 25, 2013
The feeling among players and coach on the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls’ soccer team is that the team has come a long way from where it started. The Lady Saints seemed to exhibit the fruit of their progress in the first half of Thursday’s home game against Norfolk Collegiate School.
The score was 1-1 at halftime, but when the Mighty Oaks scored again, NSA succumbed to discouragement, fatigue and injuries to fall 7-1.
Nansemond-Suffolk head coach Sue Starkey expressed some disappointment after the game.
“I thought second half we could have picked it up,” she said. “We should have.”
Lady Saints junior Darcy King, who scored her team’s lone goal on a penalty kick, felt great about half of the game.
“It’s always a struggle playing Norfolk Collegiate, but I feel during the first half, we really stayed with them, and we almost had it,” she said. “I think we played really well together as a team. We had a lot of good combination passes too.”
“I think what happened was is that after we got scored on (the second time), we kind of just broke down, and we kind of just got a little intimidated,” she said.
King also said that NSA had become conditioned to being primarily defensive-minded after their last three games, which were all losses at the hands of some of the best teams in the conference: Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School, Cape Henry Collegiate and Norfolk Academy.
“We couldn’t get the ball forward because we weren’t used to playing forward,” King said of Thursday’s game.
Starkey also pointed to the three preceding games as the source of injuries that currently limit the team. Starters that were out on Thursday included senior Kelly Crossman and junior Morgan Davis.
Fatigue manifested itself as a factor through NSA’s slow reaction time, Starkey said.
“The other team had a switch in the way they were playing,” Starkey said. “We just didn’t react fast enough with it, I think. You’ve got to mark your players.”
The Mighty Oaks fired off 39 shot attempts, 27 of which were on goal. Lady Saints freshman goalkeeper Meagan Todd had an impressive performance, with 20 saves.
“I feel like I definitely could have stopped a few of those, but I tried my hardest,” she said.
King shared what the priorities will be moving forward for improvement.
“We’re going to work on communication, definitely, and we’re going to work on our shooting, getting the ball forward, and clearing out of the defense,” she said.
While NSA has it losses, the season has not been without its wins as the record stands at 5-8-2 overall. “I’ve been on this team since seventh grade, so I’ve seen so many phases of this team,” junior Laura Fisher said. “I feel like this season, in the beginning, there were so many new people and so many people that hadn’t even played soccer before, and we have come so far and we’re so close to just beating everyone, but we just need to get our communication down, like Darcy said, and our passes and our shooting, and we’ll be golden.”
Starkey has no complaints about her team’s overall performance this year.
“I’m fine with the season,” she said. “They’ve come a long, long, long ways. It’s an awesome group of girls. We don’t have the girl junk, the drama. They’re a great group. They really are, and so are the parents.”
With two games remaining in the regular season, Nansemond-Suffolk (5-8-2, 2-4) visits Hampton Roads Academy on Tuesday.