NSA dominates — barely

Published 9:21 pm Friday, April 1, 2011

Nansemond-Suffolk freshman Hannah Starkey scored 1:53 into the match to put the Lady Saints ahead of Greenbrier Christian Friday at NSA. NSA prevailed 3-2 despite Greenbrier rallying to tie the match at 1-1 and 2-2. The Lady Saints improved to a 5-2 record.

Late goal bumps Lady Saints to 3-2 win over Greenbrier

Nansemond-Suffolk’s girls soccer squad controlled everything about Friday’s match against visiting Greenbrier Christian. In the end, Emily Leverone’s goal with just under six minutes left pulled out a nail-biting 3-2 victory for NSA.

The Lady Saints (5-2) outshot their visitors 33-2 overall and 24-2 in attempts on goal. NSA forced a 13-3 advantage in corner kicks, indicative of how much of the action took place at NSA’s attacking end of the field.

Free kicks near the NSA penalty box accounted for Greenbrier‘s two shots and, in stunning fashion each time as opposed to how the majority of play was going, the Lady Gators went 2-for-2 with those shots, nearly causing a draw or worse for the Lady Saints.


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A win is still very much a win as the Lady Saints are nearing their win total from all of last season and, while still in the pre-conference part of the season, NSA has tallied a 3-0 record against Tidewater Conference rivals.

“We have a tough game on Monday, at (Norfolk) Collegiate, so hopefully with this we’ll think a little bit about what we have to do and what we should be doing with the ball,” NSA head coach Susan Starkey said.

The opening minutes went perfectly for NSA. Freshman midfielder Hannah Starkey sharply booted a shot from the top-right corner of the Lady Gator box into the far-side netting to give the Lady Saints a 1-0 lead after 1:53 of play.

NSA’s attacking continued through most of the first half and had the Lady Saints been able to add a second goal or more, Greenbrier’s sudden offense wouldn’t have hurt so much.

“We dominated offensively, but really our passes were not as sharp as they have been,” Starkey said. “It showed today that we haven’t been able to be outside and practicing this week.”

Instead, going inside five minutes left in the half, NSA fouled and gave away a free kick off the left wing of its box, about 25 yards from goal.

Greenbrier converted with a chipped ball from the free kick and a great header from straight in front of goal and a few yards out.

Mainly from the forward combination of Leverone and Darcy King, both freshmen, NSA created an 18-1 shot advantage in the first 40 minutes only to have a 1-1 score.

The Lady Saints skipped the passing part for both goals after halftime. Leverone took it upon herself for both strikes.

Four minutes into the half, Leverone controlled a Lady Gator goal kick in the middle of the field about 35 yards from goal. After weaving around a couple defenders, she took her dribbling straight to goal and put away a low, curving, right-footed shot.

NSA’s lead remained a single goal and the Lady Saints turned away a couple counterattacks and a couple Lady Gator free kicks before Greenbrier finished a free kick, this time with the shot straight from the kick, coming from a couple strides outside the top of the box, making it 2-2 with 10:44 left.

Leverone put the Lady Saints ahead for good four minutes later, again gathering a Lady Gator clearance and taking off on a slalom with the ball to get into the box, this time to a narrow angle near the right post, to send a shot just inside that post for a 3-2 NSA lead.

“This is a whole other team (than from last season). When something goes wrong, the girls talk about it and they know they messed up. Then the whole team works together. It’s a neat feeling right now,” Starkey said.