Saints golfers show poise

Published 9:40 pm Friday, April 25, 2014

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy golf team spent a long stretch on the links this week and came up with two definitive wins and a solid performance in a tough, three-stroke loss as the post-season draws near.

The three consecutive days of matches ended Thursday with a 140-182 win over visiting Christchurch School.

”We shot a 4-under as a team, which was awesome,” Saints head coach Katie Murphy said.

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NSA also dominated the leader board, with senior Trey Wren and junior Will Comer finishing as co-medalists, shooting rounds of 34 on the par-36 Sleepy Hole Golf Course.

“It’s not uncommon, but it doesn’t happen all the time,” Murphy said of there being co-medalists, but she later added, “It’s normally split with somebody else on another team.”

The day before, against visiting Norfolk Collegiate School, Nansemond-Suffolk won 154-190. Junior Keith Cooper earned the medalist honor by shooting a 37.

“Senior Day was on Wednesday, and I played all of my seniors on my roster,” Murphy said, making the occasion special for senior Madison Ryan. “That was the first time she had played in the six, in the starting lineup.”

The week of play for NSA started on Tuesday against host and conference rival Norfolk Academy. The Bulldogs produced a school record score of 141, while the Saints came just short with 144 strokes.

Murphy said it was a tough loss, but both teams put on a show, playing well.

“It’s always fun when it’s a shootout like that,” she said.

She said the match came down to little things, with Norfolk Academy especially benefiting from the familiar environment.

“They knew the golf course, they were the home team,” Murphy said. “It was a short course, and their kids knew where to hit it.”

Even with the loss, she said, “No coach is going to be upset with a 144 on any day.”

Nansemond-Suffolk had the medalist for the round, as Wren hit a 32 on the par-35 course at Broad Bay Country Club in Virginia Beach.

“That’s always fun to have your guys be the medalists all week,” Murphy said. “We didn’t share that with any other team.”

Noting the standout Saints, Murphy started with Wren.

“He’s been really solid this week,” she said, before also highlighting Cooper, who, she said, “shot in the 30s all week.”

She ultimately had praise for the whole team.

“It really went pretty deep into the lineup each day; all of them contributed,” she said. This week, “I had five people contribute to the team score.”

Only two matches currently remain on the schedule before the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools championships on May 12.

“It’s really exciting to move into the post-season with everyone playing really well,” Murphy said. “Everyone’s kind of starting to peak at the right time.”

With all the weather delays to start the season, the team’s status at this point in the season is better than Murphy had anticipated. The Saints are 12-2 overall and 6-1 in the TCIS. According to the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state rankings, NSA is tied for first with Greenbrier Christian Academy among Division II schools.

The Saints won the Division II state championship in 2012.

“It’s going to be an exciting post-season, full of all kinds of drama,” Murphy said.

Nansemond-Suffolk faces Hampton Roads Academy on Tuesday at the James River Country Club in Newport News.