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Langley Flies Higher in Rivalry

Saxon girls' soccer make rivalry game look one-sided.

Almost the perfect adversaries are the Langley and McLean girls soccer teams. Both claimed second place in the Liberty district last season in their own right. While Langley claimed second place in the district tournament, McLean earned a 10-4-3 record which was good enough for a second place finish in the regular season.

If the near dead-even statistics weren't enough to create a tense atmosphere, the rivalry between the two schools promises tension in every meeting between the cross-town rivals.

“It's always a good game between us,” said McLean head coach Tina Shrikeli before the opening whistle of the Friday match up between the Highlanders and Saxons on Langley's home field.

But the rivalry didn't prove to be very competitive when Langley claimed the 3-1 victory, the coveted Rotary cup which is handed out to the winner of this highly anticipated rivalry game, and of course, the all-important bragging

rights.

“It obviously feels good,” said Langley head coach Melissa Bibbee. “Last year they got us. It wasn't a pretty win. It wasn't the best soccer I've seen, but it is a good rivalry and no matter how good our teams are we always play good

against each other.”

The first two minutes of the game helped decide momentum after a freak goal put Langley up 1-0.

“You score goals how you score goals,” said Bibbee.

Langley's Kelly Germain started the game off with a freak goal that “..sucked the wind right out of us,” said McLean head coach Tina Shrikeli. “After they scored that goal is was all down hill from there.”

Germain found herself in front of an open goal when McLean goalie Natalia Howerton scooted out of goal just far enough to allow the ball to bounce clear over her head. Germain capitalized on the open goal and made the touch pass to

the back of the net for the 1-0 lead with 38 minutes left in the first half.

“To tell you the truth, I saw it and then the sun got in my eyes,” said Germain of the goal. “And then I saw it and went after it.”

Langley took advantage of sophomore goalie Katelyn Freeman after Howerton left the game with 4:14 left in the first half because of a bloody nose.

With 1 minute, 26 seconds left in the first half, Caitlin Gorham lobbed a free kick to the back right side of the goal where Kimberly Germain tapped the ball to the back of the net for the 2-0 lead before the half.

Saxon sophomore Meghan Lenczyk scored with 19:12 left in the second half to push the score to 3-0.

“It's disappointing,” said McLean junior forward Roxanna Jahangeri, who scored a hat trick last year to help the Highlanders to victory. “I don't think we've played this bad this entire season. I know we can beat this team.”

Langley goalie Megan Shifflett thought that she had preserved the shutout when she dove in front of a loose ball just infront of the Saxons' goal with 14:00 left in the second quarter. Less than a minute later at the 12:58 mark,

Highlanders' Katelyn Freeman blasted a ball into the back left side of the goal to give McLean its first and only goal on the night.

“We came in with high expectations and we just couldn't get it going today,” said Shrikeli. “Soccer is one of those things where the kids just got to get themselves up.”

“This may not be the last time we see them,” said Bibbee in anticipation of the district tournament.

Langley improved to 5-2, while McLean dropped to 3-4.

Langley boys blank McLean

The Langley boys' soccer team scored three goals in the second half of Friday's 4-0 victory over McLean. The victory gave the Saxons the clean sweep of the

home-field double header versus their cross-town rival.

Saxon junior Ryan Rudzinski buried a penalty kick with 12:33 left in the second half to give Langley its fourth and final goal as well as the Rotary Cup – a trophy handed out every year to the winner of the Langley/McLean rivalry game.

"I was just trying to guess which way the keeper was going to go and I thought he was going to go right so I just put it right down the middle," said Rudzinski. "It feels so good. It's twice as good when we blow them out like this."

Langley came in with a plan — an unorthodox one.

“I purposely don't announce where the players will play,” said head coach Michael Elfman before the opening whistle. “I let the coaches figure it out.”

The confusion tactic wasn't needed. Langley scored with ease.

Everyone on the field, sidelines, and stands knew where Langley's Eric Fisher was when he nailed a free kick into the back right of the goal to give the Saxons the 1-0 lead with 30:47 left in the first half.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Saxon freshman Graham Oxley scooted past the defense and almost scored from the top right side of the field, but McLean's goalie Matt Barba got back just in time to make the running save.

Oxley converted his second opportunity. With 23:19 left in the second half, Oxley blasted a ball into the back of the net after he received the perfectly placed pass from Fisher right in front of the goal.

Less than a minute later Langley's Brian Germain gave Langley the 3-0 lead when he broke away from a defender and took a sliding shot which rolled past Barba and into the goal.

“We had three real good practices this week,” said McLean head coach Andrew Wagner. "We were just a step behind them today."