Saints net last 3 for 10-9 lax win

Published 10:29 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Josh Todd isn’t nicknamed “Thor” for his speed. The hulking Nansemond-Suffolk Academy lacrosse defender is compared to the Viking God of Thunder for his nordic features, flowing blond hair and powerful frame. Nonetheless, the 6 foot 2, 220-pound junior rumbled roughly 50 yards with the ball Tuesday and assisted on the winning goal with 16.9 seconds remaining in a defeat of the Williamsburg Warriors club team.

Williamsburg, an outfit better than several of NSA’s Tidewater Conference foes, trailed 6-1 early in the second quarter but rallied for a 7-7 tie after three stanzas and a 9-7 lead with seven minutes to play.

After a long NSA possession, Tucker Hotte drove into the teeth of the defense to score with five minutes left, and Will Crenshaw tallied on a drive of his own and capped by a bounce shot for a 9-9 tie with 1:41 on the clock.

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Williamsburg gained possession late but coughed up the ball in the Saints’ end, leading to Todd’s sprint across the midfield line. As the Warriors’ defense fell away in front of him, the long-pole player slowed before finding Pearson moving in from his right side. The senior popped the ball home from close range, touching off a Saints celebration and causing one Warrior player to angrily kick his stick high in the air.

“It was a really nice goal,” said NSA coach Ian Patrick, whose 7-2 team hosts Christchurch in a nonconference game Thursday. “Normally, Josh would have hit one of our guys out high in the point, but they took that away and he had to look elsewhere.”

Todd, a standout linebacker in the fall, said his teammates thought he was going to fire at the cage but he never considered the option.

“No way I was going to shoot,” he said, shaking his head emphatically. “I have to gain some more confidence for that.”

Patrick said Todd can play Division I college lacrosse if he improves his agility and stick work. Hours in the weight room have given the Driver resident the bulk for physical play and the explosiveness for straight-ahead speed, but college attackmen combine blink-and-you’ll-miss-them first steps and sleight of hand with their sticks.

“He just needs to keep pushing himself and to get more experience,” Patrick said of a player who’s headed to the noted 205 summer prospects camp in Baltimore this summer. “He and our entire defense made some good adjustments today.”

Goals by Pearson, Harris Howell, Hotte, Bobby Lamm, Sam Rapaport and Pearson again built NSA’s 6-1 advantage. However, Williamsburg scored the second quarter’s last three goals, exposing a bit of rust on NSA backup goaltender Hunt Odom, who started as a perk of Senior Day. Starting netminder C.J. White came on as planned for the second half, but another Crenshaw goal was outweighed by three Warrior tallies and the third quarter ended 7-7.

White, a diminutive sophomore, can clear the ball himself with roadrunner moves, but got in trouble that way two minutes into the final stanza. Trapped on the sideline by two opponents, he flung an ill-advised pass that was picked off and quickly bounced into his untended cage. The situation became even grimmer for NSA when Williamsburg scored again three minutes later for a 9-7 lead, but the Saints then undertook their final rally.

Patrick said he wasn’t too concerned about NSA’s sloppy play for much of the afternoon. The Warriors unexpectedly used a zone defense that the coach felt contributed to a slew of missed ground balls, wild passes and forced shots. When it counted, however, the Saints rose to the challenge, and they’ll be that much more prepared for Christchurch, which deploys a similar defense.

“We were patient against that zone, but we weren’t moving our feet because it kind of lulls you to sleep,” Patrick said. “You find yourself open but you’re not close to the goal and it took us a while to adapt.”