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New coach guiding Saint lax

Nansemond-Suffolk’s boys lacrosse team finished last season in the semifinals of the VIS State Tournament and nine of the 10 starters from that squad are back again this season.

In that sense, first-year head coach Tim Hostutler is the rookie of the team. Then again, “I was actually the first assistant coach here in 1987.”

Hostutler was in on the ground floor when the sport was introduced at Nansemond-Suffolk 23 years ago.

Trent Blythe is the Director of Admissions at NSA. Blythe’s the JV lacrosse coach now, but coached the varsity program for 13 seasons. Blythe was a sophomore and played on that first NSA team in 1987.

Hostutler’s coached lacrosse in Northern Virginia for the last 20 years at Paul VI and in Fairfax County. He’s a Hampton Roads native and is happy to return to the area. He’s also excited about the team he’s leading.

“I definitely like what I’m seeing. I got to meet a lot of the kids over the summer, then some, although many of them play fall and winter sports,” Hostutler said.

“They’re all business. Usually a new coach thinks he might have to crack the whip a little. Our first day of practice, it was pouring rain out here, but all the guys came out completely ready to go,” Hostutler said.

The Saints finished last season 13-6, but as usual in the Tidewater Conference, Norfolk Academy still reigned. The Bulldogs had no problems beating NSA 12-3 in the regular season and 15-6 in the final of the Tidewater Conference Tournament.

On defense, the Saints have three seniors returning who started last season. Junior C.J. White started at goalie last season.

In midfield is where Hostutler thinks his team is the deepest. Zach Crytzer, Harris Howell and Tucker Hotte are the first guys mentioned by the coach, but he also expects more players to contribute.

In attack, NSA’s led by senior Will Crenshaw. Crenshaw’s signed a scholarship offer to play lacrosse at Jacksonville University. Crenshaw will be joining a program in its second year as a NCAA Div. I team next year. This spring, his speed, strength and scoring ability will still be guiding the Saints. Joining Crenshaw in attack will be Jeff Ruland and Sam Rapaport.

“The cupboard was pretty full when I got here,” Hostutler said.

The Saints want to improve and turn their good finishes in the conference and state into championships.

“Both of those goals are realistic, if we play to our capabilities,” Hostutler said.

NSA’s first regular season match was set for Tuesday in Saluda against Christchurch. A mix-up with officials meant the Seahorses had to call off the game, meaning NSA’s first match will now be Friday at 7 p.m. at Williamsburg, a Hampton Roads Lacrosse club program.