They are the champs!

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 6, 2005

For the past few years, TCIS opponents hadn’t worried much about the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls lacrosse team. After languishing near the bottom of the league for the past few seasons, NSA seemed to finally find a spark last year, climbing to a third-place 2-2.

This year, that spark became an inferno.

After defeating Catholic April 14, the Lady Saints stunned Cape Henry with a 17-16 double-overtime win April 27. After Norfolk Academy forfeited NSA a win last Monday, the Lady Saints were one step away from their school’s first-ever regular season TCIS title.

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It was never in doubt.

Parris Grieder scored five goals and Ellis Pretlow three as the Lady Saints charged past visiting Norfolk Collegiate 13-3 Thursday to establish their trend-setting spot in Saint sports history. After three years of disappointment, Tess Smith, Pretlow, and the other graduating Lady Saints can now say they went out champions.

&uot;This feels wonderful!&uot; said Smith, who helped the Lady Saint defense fight off nearly every Collegiate attack (while NSA scored 13 goals, NC was held to 12 shots). &uot;I think we had the skills and athleticism to play as a team.&uot;

Anne-Harvard Smith, Emily Lawson, Anna Cotton, Eleanor Anne Stulb, Rachel Byers and Tommie Coxe also played their final home regular season game. The Saints will attempt to become the first school squad to win a TCIS tournament game Wednesday at home against an undetermined opponent.

Grieder, who scored the game-winning goal against Cape Henry, scored four goals in the first half as the Lady Saints charged to an 8-2 advantage at the break. In the first three minutes of the second half, freshman goalkeeper Olivia White fought off three Lady Oak shots, including a penalty stroke.

At the 22-minute mark, a pass bounced off Pretlow’s stick and went to a streaking Grieder. Grieder flipped a pass up the middle to Courtney White, who shot it to a wide-open Pretlow on the right side for a score. Just over a minute later, White was forced out of bounds. Taking the ball back in, she bolted down the left sideline, faked out a few defenders, and spun into the middle, where she gunned in a goal.

After White scored on a penalty stroke with 17:53 to go, Lawson stole the ball from a Lady Oak and passed to Grieder on the Lady Saint side of the field. Grieder snared the ball, turned around, and hit Pretlow on the left for her second assist. Coxe gave Grieder an assist to finish out the scoring with 10:20 left.

&uot;I had confidence that anyone could score,&uot; Grieder said. &uot;We had a lot of younger players this year that gave us more depth.&uot;