NSA snares another lacrosse title

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Standing on the sidelines of the Nansemond-Suffolk Acad-emy lacrosse field May 5, Bobby Flintoff watched the girls team complete its first unbeaten season in school history.

&uot;I thought it was sweet that both teams had a shot at a title,&uot; said Flintoff, who helped his team to second place in the TCIS for the second straight year. After falling to Covenant April 29, the Saints steamrolled through Highland and Norfolk Collegiate to finish out their season, and headed to Greenbrier Christian for the TCIS tourney.

It didn’t take long for the fireworks to begin, as the Saints slugged it out with Norfolk Academy Thursday night. With 35 seconds left, Flintoff fired in his fourth goal of the contest to clinch a 12-11 victory, marking the first time in school history that the Saints had beaten NA twice in the same season.

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Now they had to battle Cape Henry (CH), which had handed them their only TCIS loss of the season, a 13-11 defeat on April 26. On Friday, Flintoff, Kyle Jett and Willis Taylor learned that they’d been named to the All-TCIS First team, while Ryland Gwaltney, Joe Vidarte and Matt Holloman were members of the Second team (Gwaltney, Taylor and Griffin Powell had scored two apiece in the NA win).

After four minutes of scoreless action, Jett passed to Flintoff for a 1-0 lead, then gunned an assist to Gwaltney with just under four minutes left.

CH tied the score 15 seconds into the second quarter, but Holloman kept them out of the net for the rest of the half, and Vidarte and Taylor scored to get a 4-2 halftime lead.

By this point, NSA could feel the school’s first-ever tourney title in its hands.

&uot;There was a lot of adrenalin going,&uot; Flintoff said. &uot;Every-body was excited to be there.&uot;

&uot;We had to get up on them quick,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;Once we had a lead, we knew they’d get down on themselves. We kept on moving the ball, and good things happened.&uot;

In abundance; he scored two minutes into the half, and Jett got a goal a minute later to up the lead to four. CH scored, but Jett sent another assist to Flintoff and Taylor scored unassisted, then sent assists to Vidarte and Gwaltney to end the quarter ahead 10-4.

Now hitting on all cylinders, the Saints kept pouring it on. Gwaltney passed to Jett at the 10:21 mark, and Jett handed Flintoff one more assist. Taylor scored on his own, then passed to Vidarte with 4:15 to go.

Leading the defense, Persons and Holloman shut down one of the league’s most prolific offenses.

&uot;We wanted to keep playing our game and finish them off,&uot; Persons said. &uot;We just did what we’d been doing all game. Everyone played defense, including the midfielders.&uot;

The clock ticked past three minutes, then down to two. Hearing the cheers from the fans in the stands and his teammates on the sidelines, it was tough for Holloman to keep his mind on the game.

&uot;Those were probably the longest two minutes of my entire life,&uot; said the freshman, who knocked away 14 shots. &uot;I was waiting for the game to end, and it just wouldn’t end.&uot;

But it eventually did. The horn sounded, and the players and fans stormed the field for their history-making win. Taylor was named the tournament’s top offensive player, and Persons the top defender.

The Saints hope to go a few steps further in state competition at 4:30 p.m. today, when they head to Orange to battle Woodberry Forest.