Still room to grow for Warriors

Published 10:40 pm Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nansemond River’s Kyle Vrhovac sprints for the ball against Indian River in a Southeastern District match Thursday night in Chesapeake. The Braves beat NR 3-0. The Warriors have clinched a winning district record and a district tournament spot with one regular season match left.

CHESAPEAKE — No matter what happens through the rest of Nansemond River’s boys soccer season, it’s already a groundbreaking year and at the same time, a season for the Warriors to keep building on.

Indian River beat the Warriors 3-0 with all three Brave goals coming in the first 29 minutes on Thursday night.

Going into the game at Indian River, the Warriors had already clinched a Southeastern District Tournament spot, the first in the program’s history since moving up to Group AAA and the Southeastern, and a winning district record, something Warrior head coach Dustin Tordoff believes could be a program first.

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“This means a lot to the guys because of how they’ve worked hard all through the season,” Tordoff said. “It’s made it fun for them and, as high school kids, they deserve to have fun as they’re realizing they are at the point where they have a chance to win every night, even against high-level opponents.”

The Warriors missed out on the Southeastern District Tournament by a couple spots in the standings and a game-and-a-half last season. As the district tourney has expanded to six schools for the first time this spring, that’s part of how the Warriors clinched a berth with two matches to play. At the same time, the Warriors (8-4-1, 5-3-0) were in a tie for fourth, the old cut line, entering Thursday’s matches around Suffolk and Chesapeake.

The Braves built their big lead out of their first six shots on goal. Indian River forced NR goalie Casey Dye into a leaping save, pushing away a blasted 20-yard shot headed for just inside the upper left corner of his goal in the seventh minute.

The first Brave goal came just over a minute later. The Warriors momentarily cleared the ball from the corner kick gained by IR off of Dye’s save. Indian River converted quickly on the next break in on the Warrior box.

The Braves made it 2-0 on a free kick, with a shot from 28 yards away, in the 15th minute and 3-0 in the 29th minute, catching the Warriors by surprise with a corner kick put into play short and quick leading to a shot from inside the box before most of the Warriors reacted.

The Warriors battled the Braves better in the last 50 minutes of the match but couldn’t generate many scoring chances.

Tall, speedy forward Jared Watson raced forward on a couple breaks in the second half. The Warriors made the midfield closer to a 50-50 contest as the second half moved on. Keeping Indian River at bay wasn’t good enough for Thursday’s result, but unlike any other Nansemond River season, the Warriors could face an opponent for a second time in the tournament.

“We came out a little flat. We have to make sure we come out and are into the game before we actually get into the game,” Tordoff said.

“We’re still getting used to playing soccer at a high level,” he said.

“These guys have the attitude that we’re always seeing where we have to get better and the guys work to get to that level,” Tordoff said.

The Warriors travel and play another of the teams near the top of the district standings, Great Bridge, to finish the regular season on Tuesday. The Southeastern District Tournament is set to start Monday, May 23 at Grassfield.