Following its 10-9 triumph over Broadneck High (Md.) last Saturday, the Langley High boys’ lacrosse team held a 5-1 overall record going into this week’s action.
The Saxons, coached by Earl Brewer, have Liberty District wins this spring over Marshall, 16-4 score, McLean, 15-6, and Stone Bridge, 16-0. Its two non-district wins have come over Westminster High, 5-3, and the Broadneck squad. Langley’s lone loss came to Wootten High (Md.), 5-4, on March 29.
"I think we’re playing really well," said Brewer.
Langley struggled in the Wootten game and still only lost by a goal.
"We didn’t play a very good game," said Brewer. "We were bad on fundamentals that night and lost. We’ve shown improvement since."
Since that setback, the Saxons have wins over McLean, Stone Bridge and Broadneck. The game against Broadneck, which is near Annapolis, was anticipated as being one of Langley’s toughest games this season. And it turned out to be just that. Broadneck is almost always in the running for the Maryland state championship.
Langley has numerous other difficult games coming up on its schedule, including district contests versus Madison on April 17 and W.T. Woodson on April 24.
Then Langley will conclude its regular season with a non-district game versus private school power Landon on April 28. The Bears are members of the Interstate Athletic Conference, a private school league made up of teams around the metropolitan area.
The Madison and Landon games are scheduled to take place at Langley, while the Woodson game will be a road contest in Fairfax.
<b>GOING INTO</b> this week, Langley and Madison were both unbeaten in district play with 3-0 records. So this Thursday night’s game at 7:15 against visiting Madison could determine the regular season champion.
The Saxons’ leading scorer this season, through the Stone Bridge game, is senior attack Greg Bentz (11 goals, 3 assists on the season).
"He’s really a great shooter from the outside," said Brewer, of Bentz. "He seems to be able to put the ball at will where he wants to. He has a great shot and he’s a hard worker."
The Saxons’ second leading scorer is junior attack player Ryan Ningard (7 goals, 6 assists).
"Both he and Greg have blazing speed," said Brewer, of the two key Saxon attackers. "Ryan is a hard working kid and he draws a lot of attention when we play someone."
The coach said Ningard is growing a lot in his knowledge of the game. He wants to see the talented player pass the ball better in the face of double teams. Ningard is often physically hit around because of his tenaciousness and toughness.
"He doesn’t mind mixing it up," said Brewer, who likes the players’ gritty play, but wants to see him pass more in certain situations.
Perhaps the strongest area of Langley’s team is its defense. The Saxons have allowed 27 goals over six games (4.5 per game). The Saxons’ defense looked particularly on top of its game against a younger Stone Bridge squad on April 10. That contest marked the Saxons’ first shutout victory of the season.
"Stone Bridge is a young team and still developing out there in Loudoun [County]," said Brewer. "We played real well. We have so much confidence in our defense."
Eleven different Saxon players scored in the win.
"Everybody played," said the coach, of the win over the Bulldogs. "Some of our backup guys and younger guys got playing time."
Getting the win in the net for Langley was freshman backup goalie Luke Aaron, a 6-foot, 15-year old with vast potential. He was playing for junior starting goalie Galen Kuney, who was under the weather that night.