NSA attack comes up empty

Published 11:18 pm Friday, September 30, 2011

Nansemond-Suffolk’s Greg Beale dribbles toward the Trinity Episcopal penalty box during Thursday’s match at NSA. Trinity Episcopal scored with 32 minutes left in the game and won 1-0.

Despite putting two shots on goal compared to Nansemond-Suffolk’s 11, visiting Trinity Episcopal put one of those shots into the Saint goal early in the second half and held on to a 1-0 victory Thursday at NSA.

The Saints came into the non-conference match having little problem finding the back of the net. NSA beat Portsmouth Christian 5-0 last Thursday and started Tidewater Conference play on Tuesday by rallying from a 4-2 deficit at Norfolk Christian with two goals in the last 10 minutes for a draw.

Trinity Episcopal took the lead with 32 minutes remaining, getting the goal thanks to confusion by the NSA defense on a long, bouncing boot toward the Saint box. A Trinity Episcopal forward was open to chip the ball into an open goal after NSA goalie Zach Edwards came well out of his goal but couldn’t clear the ball away.

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A few minutes later the Saints were without two of their top attacking threats, Preston Firnstahl and Zach Taves, who notched seven of the nine NSA goals in the last two matches.

Taves was forced to the sideline with an injury a couple minutes after NSA fell behind.

Firnstahl got a yellow card late in the first half for two late challenges in short succession. He got his second yellow, and an ejection, with 24 minutes to play for arguing after a whistle following physical play going both ways went against him.

NSA head coach Art Truesdell picked up a yellow card later in the second half for the same sentiment about the officiating.

The Saints continued pressing for the tying goal, playing nearly all of the last 32 minutes in the Trinity Episcopal half of the field.

Greg Beale moved from his usual defender position up to forward and created two good offensive chances.

With about 20 minutes remaining he broke into the right side of the Trinity box and struck a fine shot that was met with a leaping, one-fisted save over the crossbar by the Trinity keeper.

Beale, moving in with the dribble, drew a foul less than a stride from the Trinity penalty area. With the clock ticking toward 12 minutes left, Matt Atienza took the ensuing free kick but a cross into the six-yard box came to nothing.

The Saints earned a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks. NSA was whistled for a 17-10 foul disadvantage.

Fortunately for the Saints, the setback came in their last non-conference match of the season. The last seven dates on NSA’s schedule are with TCIS opponents. NSA (2-3-3) travels to Walsingham Tuesday afternoon.