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Saints score 9 straight

In the end it looked like a rout, and it did finish as a 9-2 victory for Nansemond-Suffolk’s boys lacrosse team in the quarterfinals of the state tournament at NSA Tuesday evening.

For most of the first half however, the No. 2 Saints (10-4) trailed No. 7 Virginia Episcopal and NSA’s attack was off the mark.

The Bishops, making the trip from Lynchburg for the Virginia Independent Schools, Div. II Tournament game, jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and the score remained 2-0 until the closing minutes of the first half.

NSA’s trio of Will Crenshaw, Sam Rapoport and Zack Crytzer turned the match around in a matter of minutes, or 2:23 to be exact. By the halftime horn, the Saints led 4-2.

Those three Saints tallied all the goals and assists in the rally, but there was one more critical player for the Saints during the turnaround.

Sophomore Ryan Serianni, called up from the JV team, won a majority of the faceoffs for the Saints.

Early in the game, “we played pretty well on offense, when we got the ball, which wasn’t often,” said NSA head coach Tim Hostutler.

After a goal by Crenshaw put NSA on the board with 4:29 left in the half, the Saints stayed on the attack in the Bishop end of the field thanks to Serianni’s faceoff work.

“Lacrosse is a possession game,” Hostutler said.

“We just called him up off the JV and he came up huge. I usually call three or four kids up during tournament time, just as a reward. I wasn’t planning on playing him,” Hostutler said.

His varsity team though had been short a faceoff player for the last few games and “the kids said, ‘you should see (Serianni). He can help us out.’”

Rapoport scored the tying goal, getting a sharp pass from Crenshaw across the face of the goal and putting in a quick, one-hop shot from a couple steps off the right post.

Thirty-five seconds later, with 2:50 left, it was Rapoport to Crytzer and Crytzer scoring from the slot. With 2:06 left, Crenshaw scored another unassisted goal, racing with the ball nearly 360 degrees around the Bishop goal before shooting on the run from the deep slot.

NSA’s defense, led by keeper C.J. White and long-stick defenders Joe Zirpolo, John White and Sean Buttery, blanked the Bishops through the last three quarters.

The Saint offense kept adding insurance through the second half. Rapoport and Sam Edwards tallied in the third period to make it 6-2 NSA with 12 minutes left.

Edwards, with an assist from Jeff Ruland, scored to finish off a two-minute-long Saint possession early in the fourth period. Crenshaw scored his third of the match 17 seconds later. Crytzer, off a Crenshaw assist, made it 9-2 with 3:28 remaining.

“Patience, we’ve been preaching patience and working on it in practice and it’s nice to see what you work on in practice put into action,” Hostutler said.

The Saints will host the winner of No. 3 Christchurch and No. 6 Hampton Roads in a state semifinal on Thursday. The Div. II championship is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. at Norfolk Academy.