VIRGINIA BEACH -- Quickness, speed and stamina often combine to help separate the winners from the losers in soccer.
When two teams that possess all three qualities collide, one of those teams has to find something else to help make the difference.
On Sunday, before a crowd of 1,122 at Virginia Wesleyan College's Trinder Center, the visiting Christopher Newport University Captains found that difference maker. Height.
Patrick Burns (Clifton Forge/Alleghany) stretched out his 6-foot-2 frame to head the ball over a scrum of players on the left side of the net to put in a goal that put the Captains en route to a 2-0 victory on Foster Field. Burns' shot capped a corner kick off the foot of Sebastian Abrgio (Oakton/Flint Hill) in the 72nd minute.
Eight minutes later the Captains (4-0) recorded their second goal, with Burns contributing again. This time his shot into the right side was stopped by VWC goalie Connor Kirkham (Centreville/Chantilly Westfield), but the ball bounced back into play toward Garrrett Van Nutt (Martinsville/Martinsville). He knocked the ball into the left side of the net to give CNU the two-goal lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
Virginia Wesleyan (1-2-1) had its chances to score in both halves, but saw several shots miss the mark wide by inches. CNU goalie Nolan Mann (Lynchburg/Holy Cross Regional), a 6-5 junior, also produced a couple of saves on strong shots by the Marlins. He finished with four saves overall. Kirkham produced five saves for VWC.
CNU finished with a slim 11-10 edge in shots and a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks.
VWC returns to competition on Wednesday, Sept. 10, hosting North Carolina's Methodist College at 7 p.m. in non-conference play.