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Saint season ends with 10-9 loss

Nansemond-Suffolk had the final rally of Thursday night’s state semifinal lacrosse match against visiting Christchurch, but it wasn’t enough to erase a deficit the Saints faced from the first quarter on. The Seahorses from Saluda moved into the Virginia Independent Schools, Div. II final with a 10-9 victory.

Christchurch rolled off six straight goals from late in the first period into the second period. While NSA slowed the barrage of goals and fought back into the game, the Seahorses remained largely in control and still led 10-7 after a Christchurch goal with 6:14 left in the game.

NSA’s Jeff Ruland scored with 5:31 left. The Saints wasted a man-up chance, then killed off being a man down for 1:00.

A few seconds after NSA’s penalty expired, Sam Rapoport scored a crazy goal, having his pass from even with the crease to the right of the Seahorse goal toward the front of the goal bounce off a Seahorse and into the goal with 0:51 left.

An intense melee, typical of the whole match, ensued off the following faceoff. After a 35-second battle, the Seahorses won the ball and fired it 70 yards to behind the NSA goal. The Saints couldn’t form another attack in the final 0:15.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I’ve never been more proud of a team,” said NSA head coach Tim Hostutler, whose first season coaching the Saints came to a close. The Saints finish the season 10-5.

“I’ll take losing like we did today, playing the right way, versus winning like some teams do any day of the week,” Hostutler said.

The Saints opened the match with momentum on their side. After a goal by Zack Crytzer was waved off and NSA killed off a penalty for too many men on the field, all in the first two minutes of play, Crytzer scored off a pass by Rapoport 2:36 into the game.

Christchurch flipped everything in its favor late in the period with a run of three goals in 27 seconds. The Seahorses dominated faceoffs in the first half. That advantage gave the Seahorses the sudden streak of attacking, and even when the Seahorses didn’t get scoring chances and goals, it kept the ball from the Saints.

The Seahorses put three more goals away in the first 4:49 of the second quarter. Will Crenshaw scored a shorthanded goal with 5:32 left in the half and the score stayed 6-2 to halftime.

With Christchurch up 7-4 midway through the third period, Crenshaw turned a play going nowhere into a goal. Crenshaw worked back and forth to work his way toward goal on the left wing, then took what was still a long shot from a poor angle and scored.

The goal sparked the rest of the Saints, as did faceoff victories by Ryan Serianni and Joe Zirpolo.

Zirpolo scooped the ensuing ground ball and passed ahead for Sam Edwards. Edwards raced in on goal and fired a shot into the upper left corner of the net with 6:27 left.

It was Zirpolo to Tucker Hotte to Crenshaw to Ruland and Ruland scoring with a hard shot as he cut across the face of the goal with 5:52 left, making it 7-6 Seahorses.

Giving penalties away continued plaguing the Saints even as they chipped away at Christchurch’s lead in the second half.

With the Seahorses up 8-6, Crenshaw committed two penalties on the same play, putting his side a man down for 2:00. NSA survived the penalties, only to be hit with too many men and slashing penalties late in the third. NSA killed off the 6-on-4 situation.

Seconds later, Crenshaw was flagged again. The Seahorses carried the man-up chance into the fourth quarter and scored 0:22 into the period to go up 9-6.

Crytzer scored his second goal of the game four minutes later, only for Christchurch to answer 0:57 later to regain a three-goal lead, a lead that was barely good enough.

“It just made me more proud of them, that they wouldn’t give up,” said Hostutler.

C.J. White made 10 saves in goal for the Saints and helped make two steals late in the fourth quarter, just prior to Rapoport’s goal to make it 10-9, by racing out from his crease to double-team a Seahorse ball carrier. Rapoport, Crenshaw and Ruland had two goals each.