One’s enough for NSA field hockeyPublished 9:00am Wednesday, September 7, 2011
BY ANDREW GIERMAK/SUFFOLK NEWS-HERALD
SUFFOLK—Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s field hockey squad started its season with a 1-0 victory over visiting Warwick High School Thursday.
The win sparks Ashley Aston’s second season as head coach of the Lady Saints. A piece of what Aston and the Lady Saints learned in their first season together paid off in a major way, specifically as a big part of the shutout the Lady Saints delivered.
Tori Lauder took up NSA’s starting goalkeeper job in the last two games last fall. Especially in the latter stages of Thursday’s 1-0 win, Lauder had to come up with saves in scrambles and traffic, including a couple late Warwick penalty corners, to make senior Liza Bart Dolan’s first-half goal stand up.
“Tori’s really stepped up her work ethic and it shows. She’s improving with each practice,” Aston said. “Today shows how much she’s improved to get a shutout in the first game of the season.”
Warwick created some nervous moments in the Lady Saint circle in the final 15 minutes. For the most part, however, the Lady Saints created the majority of the attacks combining fast ball movement and speed, especially from Dolan at center forward.
After two near-misses already, Dolan was first to sprint onto and control a long Lady Saint restart from a few yards on the opposite side of midfield.
Dolan kept her dribble going to beat a defender, then the goalie, and tap the ball into the empty cage just before it was about to bounce by the right post for a 1-0 NSA lead in the 13th minute.
The Lady Saints created chances by possessing the ball through midfield and by catching Warwick with counterattacks.
Warwick earned three of its five penalty corners in the last seven minutes. The best chance for a tying goal came via a corner as the clock wound under six minutes. Lauder saved a shot through plenty of traffic before a Warwick foul allowed the Lady Saints to clear the ball.
“I’m really happy with the teamwork they displayed. Their communication’s improved so much since last year,” Aston said.
Moving the ball through midfield and into scoring range starts with the defense, said Aston, a Nansemond River and Virginia Commonwealth standout.
“The team’s starting to work as a unit as far as getting the ball up the field,” Aston said.
“I’m thrilled with the first win and with it being at home. This should give the girls more confidence and motivation to keep going,” she said.
The Lady Saints won’t get the luxury of their home field again for nearly three weeks. Starting with a contest versus Walsingham in Williamsburg on Thursday, NSA’s next four matches are either away or on a neutral field.