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Despite an early goal in the fourth minute of play, Walsingham Academy surrendered four consecutive goals during a 4-1 loss to Norfolk Christian at Wanner Stadium on Thursday.
The game, billed as "Under the Lights" by Walsingham Academy, was a rare night game for the Trojans in front of a larger-than-normal crowd.
Norfolk Christian, ranked as the No. 5 school in the first Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II rankings, proved a worthy opponent for what was supposed to be an important test for the Trojans.
Walsingham Coach Kevin Darcy said he was impressed with his team's resilience against a top opponent, especially given a lack of depth and having to play six eighth-graders in the game.
Despite the odds seemingly stacked against Walsingham, the Trojans logged the first goal of the game just four minutes into the contest.
The Trojans earned an early corner kick, which was taken by Brianna Behm. The ball curled deep into the box and was redirected into the back of the net off a Norfolk Christian player.
"I was hoping for about four more own goals," Darcy joked after the game.
Unfortunately for Darcy, the only goals that followed came from Norfolk Christian's Kayla Morrison.
After roughly 30 minutes of back-and-forth soccer, Morrison tied the game up for Norfolk Christian, stealing the ball and weaving through the Walsingham defense before slotting the ball under goalkeeper Lauren Duncan.
The goal sent the game into halftime knotted up at 1-1.
Morrison struck again in the 44th minute, picking off an errant pass before calmly finding the back of the net to put the Ambassadors up 2-1.
With Norfolk Christian trying to hang on to its lead, the intensity of the game rose significantly as hard tackles became commonplace around the pitch. This proved problematic for an undermanned Walsingham squad.
"Fitness wise, not having many subs didn't help when we were playing on a wider field," Darcy said, adding that the physical nature of the game "definitely" took a toll on his younger players.
With Walsingham pushing players up the field in an attempt to find a game-tying goal, defensive lapses allowed Morrison room to operate and find more scoring opportunities.
In the 69th minute, Morrison picked off a deep pass and streaked toward the goal. With Duncan substituted into the field and eighth-grade Martha Paige Norsworthy in net for the Trojans, Morrison had little trouble striking the ball into the lower-left corner of the net.
Morrison's final goal of the game came in the waning moments as Norsworthy found herself out of position on a scramble for the ball. Morrison received the ball and was able to easily slot the ball into an open net.
Walsingham (4-1) will try to rebound Tuesday at home against Norfolk Academy.
Norfolk Christian 4, Walsingham Academy 1
Goals: Norfolk Christian (Morrison 4), Walsingham Academy (own goal)
HRA Edges Bishop Sullivan
Hampton Roads Academy scored a 1-0 home win against Bishop Sullivan on Thursday.
The Navigators received a major lift from goalkeeper Sophie Kingsbury, who logged 15 saves during the shutout victory.
Melina Gharbo was responsible for HRA's lone goal, scoring unassisted in the first half to give the Navigators a lead they would not relinquish in the second half.
HRA (5-1) will look to extend its three-game win streak Tuesday on the road against Peninsula Catholic.
Hampton Roads Academy 1, Bishop Sullivan 0
Goals: HRA (Melina Gharbo)