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Lady Saints fight back to tie Cape Henry

Eighth-graders Kaylor Nash and Darcy King combined for the game-tying goal in the 79th minute of Thursday’s Tidewater Conference soccer match, giving Nansemond-Suffolk a 3-3 tie against visiting Cape Henry.

The Lady Saints and Lady Dolphins met in Virginia Beach two weeks ago in a non-conference match with Cape Henry edging NSA 1-0.

Tight matches are nothing new between the conference rivals. With the Lady Saints fielding a lineup including four eighth graders and sophomore Sara Baldwin becoming the emergency goalkeeper after senior starter Grace Saunders suffered a concussion in Tuesday’s conference match with Norfolk Academy, a tie was by no means a disappointment.

“I don’t think, as a coach, you’re ever happy with a tie. There’s always one more play, or one more shot,” said NSA head coach Sue Starkey.

“The last three years, we’ve tied them, or gone into OT, three times with Cape Henry,” Starkey said.

Adding the most to the problems the Lady Saints faced was two Cape Henry goals in the first 25 minutes of the match.

Early on, the Lady Dolphins controlled most of the possession and it wasn’t until the final few minutes of the first half that it looked as though the Lady Saints might be able to fight their way back into the match.

“I asked them, can you beat them? Are they that much better than us?” Starkey said of her halftime message.

“They had to want it. We definitely had a good pep talk,” Starkey said.

In the second half, the Lady Saints lived off chances to counterattack. Senior forward Andrea Beale saved the day with two sudden sprints down the field for unlikely goals.

Eight minutes into the second half, NSA cleared the ball out of its box. King booted the ball ahead and Beale beat the Cape Henry defense to the ball. Beale ran in, one-on-one against the keeper, and simply rolled a shot past the keeper while still a couple strides from the top of the penalty box.

Seven minutes later, another fast rush by the Lady Saints ended with King being brought down in the CH penalty box. No call was the call even though NSA thought it might have had a penalty kick.

NSA held to its plan of defending and sending long balls ahead for Beale to go for. Closing in on 10 minutes left, midfielder Kate Flintoff booted a ball about 40 yards toward the right side of the CH box.

Beale chased it down and shot as Cape Henry’s keeper charged toward the NSA attacker. The goalie knocked the shot down, deflecting it toward the end line. Seemingly with no angle to shoot, Beale still shot and curled the ball into the unguarded goal.

The 2-2 score lasted all of three minutes before Cape Henry regained the lead. Following the go-ahead goal, Cape Henry continued controlling most of the possession and keeping the game well away from its goal.

Another NSA counterattack led to a Cape Henry foul 22 yards from goal, straight in the center of the field.

King took the free kick, shooting toward the left post with a good shot. King’s shot was saved, but the rebound set off a scramble near the post and Nash poked the loose ball over the goal line. Nash’s first goal of the season tied the game and the end of regulation was whistled 90 seconds later.

In the 10-minute overtime period, NSA didn’t create any serious scoring threats. Baldwin made three saves to keep Cape Henry from a winning goal. Baldwin finished with 10 saves total.

The Lady Saints (1-6-1, 1-1-1) play at St. Catherine’s in Richmond Friday afternoon. NSA resumes its conference play Tuesday, hosting Walsingham at 4:30 p.m.