Saints look to improve on last season

Published 10:41 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2019

With the season getting under way for the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy boys’ soccer team Thursday, they are hoping to improve on last season.

The Saints will come into this season off of a 4-8-1 record from 2018. After winning four of their first five games, the Saints struggled in the latter half of the season; however, 2019 presents an opportunity for the Saints to get back on track. The pre-season has gone well for the Saints, and Coach Patrick Whelan is excited to see the hard work pay off.

“We’ve worked so, so hard at conditioning and are really working at the tactical side of things,” Whelan said.

Email newsletter signup

“We have a really balanced squad from a few perspectives. There are four tremendous seniors on the team who are all providing excellent leadership. We then have a crew of 10 juniors who are all eager to play and contribute to the team. The rest of our team are rounded out with really talented sophomores and freshmen. All in all, I couldn’t be happier with our team.”

NSA returns first team All-Conference performer Brett Hogan. They also return Justice Walters, and both worked well with each other at the center back and goalkeeper positions. Last year, the team also took home the Betty Jean Riddick Sportsmanship Award, which was the fifth time in six years.

“Both of those guys will be very important to what we do as a team this season,” Whelan said. “Both students are excellent athletes and even better people.”

The talent within the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools is always evident. Most of the teams in the conference do well not only during the regular season but also during the postseason as well. The Saints had a lot of close losses last year and know they will have to play better to get over the hump of some of the Division I teams. Whelan believes with a positive mindset, it will lead to positive results for the Saints this season.

“Coach Sanin and I focus on things within our control, and we preach to our team to focus on having a sound work ethic, a positive attitude, and an enjoyment for the game,” Whelan said. “This group of young men embody that spirit. Keeping those three items at the forefront will lead us to a really positive season.”

NSA will open up the season at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at home against Summit Christian.