Saints score three for second-half comeback

Published 10:24 pm Saturday, October 3, 2009

Nansemond-Suffolk’s field hockey team rallied from a 2-0 halftime deficit and Brooke Starling scored her second goal of the game with 3:28 remaining to give the Lady Saints a 3-2 victory over visiting North Cross School of Roanoke on Friday afternoon.

The win was NSA’s second in two days as the Lady Saints (3-6-1) defeated Hampton Roads in a non-Tidewater Conference match on Thursday in Newport News. It was the first comeback win of the season for the Lady Saints.

“That’s huge for us because we had been struggling just to score goals,” said NSA head coach Kathleen Hotte.

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NSA scored three on Thursday and had to score three on Friday after North Cross moved in front with goals in the 11th and 19th minutes.

Most of the first half was spent with NSA keeping the play in the North Cross half and NSA outshot the Lady Raiders 9-4 in the first half, but North Cross took advantage of its chances.

“I told them, ‘it doesn’t feel like we’re down, it feels like it’s 0-0,’” said Hotte about her halftime talk.

“If we could pass a little better, communicate a little better and get a few more shots on goal, I thought we’d be okay, and that’s what they did,” said Hotte.

Four minutes into the second half, Kelsey White set up the first NSA goal by slapping a hard drive toward the North Cross cage. White’s shot was deflected down, but Alexis Clary and Allie Thorndike worked hard in a scrum right in front of the goal. Thorndike practically dribbled the ball across the goal line to put NSA on the board.

NSA kept attacking and tied the match on a well-run play on a penalty corner. Katy Lerner’s pass to start the corner was right to Starling who scored with a hard shot, making it 2-2 with 18:37 remaining.

NSA’s defense played just as big a role in the final 12 minutes. Goalie Mary Pedigo stopped a pair of excellent North Cross shots as the clock ticked under 11 minutes to go.

Down the stretch, on every North Cross restart near the NSA arc all 11 Lady Saints were positioned in the arc to defend.

The game-winning goal started 80 yards from the North Cross goal. A free hit out of NSA’s end of the field went to White near midfield and White sent a long pass ahead of everyone.

Starling was the first sprint to the ball. Starling took one touch to get into the North Cross arc , then with her second touch of the ball she sent a shot past the keeper and inside the near post.

North Cross earned four penalty corners in the final 2:00, with the last three coming in succession and the final one coming in the equivalent of stoppage time.

Sarah Simms knocked down a Raider shot and cleared the ball out of the NSA arc to end North Cross’s last corner and bring the final whistle.

NSA moves into conference play next week with matches at Norfolk Academy and at Cape Henry.

“We have two huge games next week. If we play well, we can cause some upsets,” said Hotte.