Saints stumble in soccer opener, fall 7-3

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 31, 2005

An unrelenting attack from Hampton Christian ruined Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s soccer season opener at NSA on Tuesday afternoon.

Scoring three times in the final nine minutes of play, the Warriors broke open an already high-scoring match, and avenged last season’s loss to NSA, 7-3.

The combination of Stephen Lee and Wade Cotton got NSA on the board only three minutes into the match.


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High pressure forced a Warrior turnover deep on the right wing. Cotton gained the loose ball, and he quickly sent a cross to the center of the box, where Lee got his head to the ball before a Warrior defender could.

His header looped over the keeper, who was a couple steps off the goal line, and down into the goal.

NSA keeper Chris Fisher was tested early and often though, even with the early Saints goal, making four tough saves in the first five minutes.

It did not take long for the Warrior pressure to turn into a goal of their own, as HC scored off a deflected corner kick in the 8th minute.

The Warriors took the lead in the 27th minute, but NSA came back in the 33rd minute, with Reid Leonard scoring with the assist again coming via Cotton.

Good hustle by Cotton chased down a long ball into the left side of the Warrior penalty area.

Unable to get a clean shot versus the onrushing keeper, Cotton passed back into the center of the box, finding Leonard who then scored into the mostly open net from 16 yards out.

The Saints had capitalized on the few chances they had in the opening half to stay tied, but HC still had more threatening possession, and that difference would show through after the half.

HC scored twice in the first 11 minutes, with the second goal again resulting from a Warrior corner.

Leonard scored his second goal of the game in the 67th minute, with Shea Ahlstead earning the assist, briefly giving the Saints hopes of a comeback.

Keeping up the pressure however, the Warriors finished off the match, scoring three times for the final margin.

HC outshot the Saints 34-12, with 20 of the 34 being on goal.

&uot;Being the first game, there are still a lot of guys learning what we need out of them,&uot; said NSA coach Richard Starkey. &uot;There were some good points and some bad points.&uot;

The Saints will not have long to worry about their first defeat, as they welcome Norfolk Christian tomorrow for another 4:30 p.m. kickoff.