Oaks advance past Saints in tourney

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, October 21, 2008

NORFOLK – Nansemond-Suffolk’s boys soccer season came to a close on Tuesday with a 5-0 defeat to Norfolk Collegiate in the quarterfinals of the Tidewater Conference Tournament.

Although the host Oaks came in as the No. 3 seed in the tournament, and the Saints as No. 6, the two sides met only last week and played to a 2-2 draw.

Tuesday’s match was all Oaks as the home team repeatedly hurt the Saints with crosses in from the flanks to open attackers waiting inside the Saint penalty box. Four of the five goals by Norfolk Collegiate came in this way.

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Despite the lopsided score, as far as chances and possession, the game was not the rout the score made it seem. The Oaks had a 15-14 edge in overall shots and a 9-7 advantage in shots on goal and if NSA had been able to answer once or twice in the first half, the momentum might have been different for the rest of the afternoon.

A couple minutes after the Oaks went up 1-0, Brock Barbeau stole a pass about 40 yards from the Oak goal, broke into the box, was one-on-one against the keeper, but sent his shot curling wide of the right post.

Park Babiy, who co-leads the Saints, along with Barbeau, with 10 goals on the season, was dangerous on a couple counterattacking chances and NSA forced Norfolk Collegiate fouls on a few occasions to set up free kicks for decent chances.

The Oaks added goals in the 25th and 33rd minutes to take a 3-0 lead by halftime. Norfolk Collegiate put the match out of reach with two more strikes in the first 12 minutes of the second half.

The Saints (5-9-3, 3-4-1) were 4-2-1 in their last seven matches of the regular season. Much of the early part of the season was about learning a new system and new tactics under new head coach Art Truesdell.

“We’re going to build on this. It’s not a one-year thing,” said Truesdell on Tuesday.

“I’m glad they’re a little disappointed today. It shows they want to work and want to go places.”

The Saints lose five seniors, Jacob Branchaud, Carter Pearson, Ben Willis, Vincent Hochstrasser and Wil Rodden, from their 19-man roster. Including a few JV call-ups, 23 Saints were dressed for Tuesday’s match.

“The last three weeks they’ve really played the type of soccer I’m proud to see, and it’s been against quality teams,” said Truesdell.