Comeback gives Saints TCIS win

Published 8:15 pm Saturday, April 11, 2009

An ice cream truck lingered in the Cape Henry Collegiate School parking lot Thursday evening, its tinkling music echoing off the cars and out over the adjacent athletic fields bathed in weakening sunlight. But the departing members of the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy boys lacrosse team didn’t need any frozen treats; they were already enjoying the sweet taste of a 7-5 victory.

Trailing 4-2 early in the fourth quarter, the Saints roared back to capture the Tidewater Conference contest, Rich Brummett and Tucker Hotte scoring in the final two minutes to break a 5-5 tie.

The triumph improved NSA to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play and puts it in position to finish second in the regular season standings behind powerful Norfolk Academy. The TCIS postseason tournament begins May 5.

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“I would think one of the tournament semifinals will be a rematch of today,” said Saints coach Ian Patrick, while emphasizing much can still happen in the coming weeks. “If so, we’ll have a battle on our hands but I think we’ll do better.”

That’s because NSA didn’t play particularly well for much of the game, flinging shots wide of the goal as if its sticks’ shooting strings had been tied in knots. A scoreless first quarter gave way to a 2-1 halftime lead for Cape Henry, and although NSA scored the third quarter’s only goal, it then surrendered the first two tallies of the final stanza to land in that 4-2 hole three minutes after intermission.

“It took us a while to get started, but I still had a good feeling,” Patrick said. “We were getting good shots, but they just weren’t going on net. I knew the accuracy would come; I was just hoping it would be before the end of the game.”

Increased faceoff success earned NSA more possession time and the chance to tire the Dolphins’ defense. Eighth-grader Harris Howell scored despite being fouled with nine minutes remaining and the next two minutes brought goals from Sam Rapaport and Carter Pearson.

Cape Henry (2-6, 0-1) tied the game 5-5 with three minutes left but slick and patient passing found a wide-open Brummett in front of the goal for an unobstructed and successful shot. Hotte bounced in an insurance tally with 34 seconds to play.

The afternoon marked another strong performance from sophomore goaltender C.J. White, who has seized the starting job despite this being his first season of full-time work in the cage. The redhead may only be 5 foot 5, but his agility and competitiveness is off the charts and he held Thursday’s fort while his teammates worked out the kinks in their attack.

“He concentrates very well and he doesn’t just move laterally but also towards the ball as it’s being shot,” said Patrick, who made the delicate decision to start White over experienced senior Hunt Odom early in the campaign. “He needs to grow another 3 or 4 inches to have a chance to play in college, I think, but he’s so quick and so good out of the cage that he’s a real asset for us.”

Rapaport and Pearson each finished with two goals Thursday. NSA next plays Tuesday when it hosts the Williamsburg Warriors club team, a squad that drilled Cape Henry 10-5 earlier this season.