Saint keeper gives NSA tie

Published 10:23 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Behind an incredible 34 saves by goalkeeper Mary Pedigo, Nansemond-Suffolk’s field hockey team survived 60 minutes without a shot on goal against Cape Henry and came out with a 0-0 draw on Tuesday afternoon at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

“Mary’s the backbone of the team. Usually, when you say that about a goalie, it’s just about being the backbone of the defense, but she’s that for our entire team,” said Nansemond-Suffolk’s head coach Kathleen Hotte.

“With her making save after save, it keeps the morale of the team up,” said Hotte.

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Through a pair of preseason scrimmages last week and Tuesday’s regular-season opener, NSA’s offense has struggled, but the defense led by Pedigo has been organized and strong.

Cape Henry put pressure on NSA’s goal right from the start while it took NSA about 25 minutes worth of the first half before getting anything more than a hurried clearance into Cape Henry’s half of the field.

Cape Henry’s most dangerous scoring chances came on penalty corners, most of which led to long scrums in the NSA arc, with some taking place with action only a yard or two from the goal line. Somehow, the visitors never came up with an easy tap-in into an undefended part of the cage and Pedigo had the equivalent of a perfect game.

As the scoreless tie continued, the Saints gained confidence and made the final minutes a little closer to even as far as possession and field position.

With 12:00 to go, NSA earned its first corner and shot attempt of the match. The Saints put together a couple more attacking runs in the last few minutes in an effort to get a goal and steal the win.

“Once we play together more, we’ll come together more. We’re an athletic team and we have a lot of talent,” said Hotte.

Tuesday’s match was a non-Tidewater Conference matchup for the Saints and Dolphins. The two schools will meet again on Oct. 8 for the TCIS match.

NSA (0-0-1) travels to face Tabb on Thursday at 4 p.m.