Nansemond-Suffolk Academy field hockey coach Ashley Skinner talks to her team on Thursday in a timeout during the Lady Saints' season-opening 2-1 home win over the C-Hawks field hockey team.
Nansemond-Suffolk Academy field hockey coach Ashley Skinner talks to her team on Thursday in a timeout during the Lady Saints' season-opening 2-1 home win over the C-Hawks field hockey team.

Lady Saints’ efforts to improve begin well

Published 9:45pm Thursday, August 21, 2014

The visiting C-Hawks field hockey team out of Newport News had an abundance of chances near Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s goal, but it made only one of them count.

The Lady Saints made sure it was not enough with about three minutes left in the game when freshman Tori Psimas scored on an assist from senior Jessie Lerner. The 2-1 victory got NSA off to an encouraging start in its bid to improve on last season’s 4-13 mark and early conference tournament exit.

“I was really excited about the performance,” Lady Saints coach Ashley Skinner said. “There were definitely some areas where we needed to improve, but I felt like (the girls) were resilient.”

The team is largely familiar to Skinner, as it did not lose any players due to graduation. Two starters did depart due to a transfer and a decision not to continue playing, but the roster remains mostly intact.

This year it includes five seniors, one junior, two sophomores and five freshmen.

“I have high expectations for the girls,” Skinner said, adding she thinks it is going to be a great year for them. “Our schedule has changed more, and I’m really excited to play competitive teams throughout the season.”

One standout expected to contribute to an improved team this year is senior goalkeeper Madi Glynn, and she was out in force on Thursday, helping the Lady Saints defend against 15 penalty corners, while NSA only had one.

“Our defense certainly had to be resilient with so many corners,” Skinner said. “I think that our goalkeeper really held it together for us. She had 13 saves, which was tremendous.”

Another player already standing out, as expected, was Lerner, a midfielder who put in NSA’s first goal of the game to go with her assist on the game-winner.

Skinner also highlighted two other midfielders who will be key contributors — senior Sarah Higinbotham and sophomore Paige Christiansen.

Two girls Skinner anticipates could become major factors as the season develops are freshman forward Morgan Morrell and freshman defender Madi Wilson, a first-year player.

“We have all the tools,” Skinner said. “We just have to put them to work,” pushing past the intimidation factor of facing other competitive teams.

The Lady Saints (1-0) host Hampton Roads Academy on Tuesday.

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