Saints suffer painful defeat, 6-2

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 19, 2002

Hampered by injuries and a lack of aggression on offense, the Nansemond-Suffolk Aca-demy soccer team fell 6-2 to visiting Catholic on Thursday. Patrick Whelan and Willis Taylor scored for the Saints (2-4-1).

The Saints spent much of the game defending themselves against Crusader attacks, often placing as many as nine or 10 players at a time on defense. Whenever the Saints managed to clear the ball out to Whelan or Taylor at midfield, the pair was forced to break all the way down the field alone, and were almost invariable overtaken by the Catholic defense.

NSA starters Brandon De-Long and Garrett Starkey sat out with injuries, and the team lost Bennet Hart and Daniel Curran during Thursday’s contest.

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The Virginia Beach squad first struck just under nine minutes into the game. Andrew Paul charged into the right side of the NSA goal box, and Hart moved out to intercept him. As the players came together, both kicked the ball, deflecting it into the center, where Matt Morrow drove it into the upper right corner of the Saint goal.

Twelve minutes later, Riley Wirth sent a long shot past a sprawling Joe Vidarte for Catholic’s second goal, and Sean O’Connor scored on an assist from Ryan Llewellyn for a 3-0 halftime lead.

The NSA offense, outshot 16-1 in the first half, finally showed life in the second. Less than three minutes in, Whelan broke down the center of the field, and shot a pass to Taylor on the left side. With Paul matching him step for step, Taylor slipped a shot into the Catholic goal, and NSA was on the board.

It didn’t last. Two minutes later, Robert Lewandoski dribbled through four Saints and rifled a shot into the upper left side of the goal, and deflected in a pass from Wirth with 28 minutes left.

But Whelan put one more goal in the NSA scorebook, as he streamed between defenders Steven Nugent and David Gundlach at the 26-minute mark.

NSA will host Portsmouth Christian at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.