Saints feast in Norfolk

Published 9:32 pm Friday, April 24, 2009

A small caravan of cars containing Nansemond-Suffolk Academy boys lacrosse players and their parents turned into the landmark restaurant Doumar’s Cones & BBQ on Thursday evening, their occupants now lusting for fast food after a quick dismantling of Norfolk Collegiate.

An hour earlier, the Saints had scored all of the first half’s eight goals en route to a 14-3 Tidewater Conference rout that put them on the edge of clinching second place in the regular season standings.

With a victory at Bishop Sullivan on Tuesday, NSA can seal conference runner-up status behind powerful Norfolk Academy. That would allow the Saints to host the conference’s last-place finisher in the postseason tournament’s first round and avoid facing NA until the event’s title game.

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In addition, a Tuesday triumph will likely lock NSA into third place in Virginia’s final Division II private school rankings, which are used to seed the state playoffs. Highland and Virginia Episcopal are expected to be seeded first and second.

Such conjecture is an upbeat improvement from the Saints’ mood after a 14-10 loss Monday at Benedictine. NSA coach Ian Patrick said the Richmond school consistently scored off transitions created by his team’s mistakes and only a six-goal performance by attackman Will Crenshaw kept the visitors close.

With that loss in mind, Patrick was slightly worried how his troops would respond. But focused play and a deliberate offense allowed the Saints to cut Norfolk Collegiate’s defense to ribbons. By early in the second quarter, NSA was rotating reserves into action as it improved to 9-3 overall and 4-1 in conference play.

“We were very deliberate in our attack early on and that’s exactly what we have to do,” Patrick said. “It was an excellent recovery and our guys kept their heads when things got a bit rough at the end.”

The Oaks (4-6, 2-4) who figure to battle Hampton Roads Academy for sixth place in the seven-team conference, became frustrated late and took numerous penalties. Sam Rapaport finished with five goals, Will Crenshaw had four and Carter Pearson had three for NSA, which also got single tallies from Harris Howell and Tucker Hotte.

Patrick said Hotte, a sophomore in his second varsity season, has been a standout the last month. Approaching the 30-point mark, the midfielder is lauded by his coach for smart decisions with the ball, improved defense and a better awareness of not staying on the field too long and when to rotate off it.

“He’s so good on the crease, taking passes and scoring,” Patrick said. “He’s just gold in there.”

Sounds like showing worthy of a Doumar’s feast.