State-level spotlight on NSA lacrosse

Published 10:37 pm Friday, June 7, 2013

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy junior Jacob Edwards, left, scored 64 goals and tallied nine assists in 21 games for the boys' lacrosse team and was named to the VISAA all-state first team for his efforts. It was his first all-state honor. (Sam Mizelle photo)

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy junior Jacob Edwards, left, scored 64 goals and tallied nine assists in 21 games for the boys’ lacrosse team and was named to the VISAA all-state first team for his efforts. It was his first all-state honor. (Sam Mizelle photo)

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy received state-level recognition for the quality of its lacrosse players in the 2013 season.

Junior Jacob Edwards and sophomore Jessie Lerner were named to the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association all-state first teams for boys’ and girls’ lacrosse, respectively. The boys’ team was also represented on the all-state second team by senior Harris Howell and sophomore David Gough.

Edwards’ respect for the talent on other teams in the state kept him from having anticipation about receiving a first team all-state honor.

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“It was unexpected, I’ll put it that way, I guess,” he said. “It was really unexpected because there’s a lot of good kids out there, but I’m excited to have it.”

Sophomore Jessie Lerner of the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls' lacrosse squad earned the first team all-state honor after a year in which she scored 50 goals to go with five assists in 17 games. It was her first all-state honor. (David Lerner photo)

Sophomore Jessie Lerner of the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy girls’ lacrosse squad earned the first team all-state honor after a year in which she scored 50 goals to go with five assists in 17 games. It was her first all-state honor. (David Lerner photo)

Edwards helped power the attack of a Saints team that was ranked No. 4 among VISAA Division II schools. Saints head coach Jeff Forman did not have to search for reasons why his attackman was deserving of his first state-level selection.

“I think the reason he made all-state was because he was consistent throughout the year,” Forman said. “He scored in every game. He scored three or more goals in 13 of our 21 games, and he had excellent post-season play in the (Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools) tournament and in the VISAA Division II tournament. He scored three or more goals in all four of those games.”

Edwards racked up 64 goals and nine assists for the year, and Forman said that he was “one of the leading goal-scorers in the VISAA Division II.”

“I kind of just surprised myself,” Edwards said, regarding his performance. But it does not mean he will settle for the new status quo next season.

“I’m going to try to go for more,” he said.

On the girls’ side, Jessie Lerner blistered the field with 50 goals and five assists in 17 games. She was a dominant offensive force on her team; the next highest Lady Saints goal-scorer had 16.

The all-state honor was Lerner’s first.

“I felt really proud of myself for being a 10th-grader and getting that far, and being first team all-state was pretty cool,” she said.

Lady Saints head coach Mary Flowers said that Lerner got the first team all-state recognition “because Jessie knows how to get the ball in the back of the net. She’s got great stick work, which at this level, a lot of girls run fast and are athletic, but their stick work is lacking.”

But Lerner is athletic too.

“She’s the whole package, and she, out of anyone on our team right now, can play at the Division I (college) level if she wants to in a couple years,” Flowers said.

Lerner met her personal expectations for this season.

“I had set goals to score a goal in every game, and I accomplished that,” she said. “I wanted to beat the number of goals that I had last year, so I think I did that.”

Harris Howell, who was also first team All-TCIS, finished out his five-year lacrosse career at NSA with a 30-goal, 25-assist season, winning 195 of 335 face-offs. Forman described him as a team leader and ball control player at both ends of the field.

David Gough, who was also second team All-TCIS, provided excellent defense for the Saints, collecting 68 ground balls. Forman noted that Gough is big, strong and quick, which allowed him to take appropriate risks that bolstered the team’s defense.