NSA sees promising season

Published 9:22 pm Friday, August 18, 2017

The Lady Saints will return all but one player this season for field hockey, and they are hoping to be among one of the most competitive teams in the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools.

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy team graduated one senior in Paige Christiansen and finished 9-12 last year. All players are comfortable with each other on and off the field, and they believe they can be very good if they play up to their potential.

Even though the Lady Saints return a bunch of familiar faces, one that won’t be so familiar is their head coach. NSA’s field hockey team will be under new direction as former coach Ashley Skinner moved on to King’s Fork High School. New coach, Shelby Bourn, is excited about her new opportunity as a first-time head coach.

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Bourn hails from New York, where she played college basketball and field hockey at Wells College. There, she was a defender on the field hockey team, winning the team’s Rookie of the Year award in 2012 and team MVP award in 2013. She was also a recipient of the Defensive Player of the Year award in the NEAC Conference. With everything Bourn has accomplished, she has already earned the respect of her players in little time. The New York native is excited about her team as well.

“We’re really lucky to have her,” Lady Saint Lauren Meyers said. “We have learned a lot in such a short time. Our team is very excited to see what we can accomplish this year.”

Bourn is still getting to know her team, but after two weeks of practice she is more comfortable. At first, she was nervous, considering this is her first opportunity at a head coaching job. She credits long-time assistant coach Olivia White, who helps her out whenever she needs something.

“Everything has been going great so far. I’m excited about the season,” Bourn said. “The biggest thing I try to push with the girls is the effort. I’ve put in the effort, and they’ve responded. We have some really strong leaders on this team, and they’re very respectful to coach White and me. I’m just excited to be able to work with them.”

Meyers is one of many returning who are expected to be significant contributors. Kirtley Arnold and Morgan Morrell are also projected to make an impact for the Lady Saints immediately. Junior Sam Williams and senior Summer Wood will be looked upon for leadership. Williams was an All-TCIS player last season. Anni Groves will be a young player expected to have a role for NSA this year.

“We have a solid team this year,” Meyers said. “I’m also really excited about the younger girls coming up. They have a lot of talent. We have a competitive schedule this year, but we’re all prepared and excited.”

Bourn and the Lady Saints will continue to get more acclimated. They play their first regular season official game on Aug. 25.