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Saxons’ Struggling in Girls Lacrosse

Langley coach believes squad can play much better.

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The Saxons will play an important district game on Thursday night in Vienna against Madison.

For the most part, the Langley High girls’ lacrosse season has struggled on the field this spring.

The two-time defending Liberty District champion Saxons are younger than in recent years, and the 2008 squad has had mixed results thus far at 3-3.

"We are not up to our level of play by any means," said Langley coach Rich DeSomma, concerned by the squad’s erratic play.

The coach indicated it is a bit of a mystery as to why his Saxons haven’t taken off yet.

"I’m not sure," he said. "We’re practicing hard and have good plans going into the games."

Langley’s wins have come over district opponents Marshall and McLean, as well as non-district rival Mount Vernon. The losses have come to district opponent Stone Bridge and non-district foes Loudoun Valley (a four-overtime setback in the season opener) and West Springfield.

One of the season’s biggest disappointments was the home loss to West Springfield, 12-10, on March 31. Coach DeSomma said his squad overlooked the Spartans.

"West Springfield played great," he said. "They were really ready and they came to win."

The coach is concerned that his team has not always displayed that fierce hunger to succeed. He was hoping the Saxons’ road loss at Stone Bridge, a 10-5 setback last Thursday, might serve as a wake-up call. The Saxons trailed the contest 8-1 at one point in the first half.

"It was one of our worst performances in years," said DeSomma, of the team’s first district loss. "At this point, I’m kind of hoping [losing to] Stone Bridge shook them up a little bit."

What made the loss particularly unsettling to DeSomma was that the host Bulldogs did not play all that great a game themselves.

"Stone Bridge is a very improved team this year," said the coach. "But when they played us they were sloppy and we had plenty of opportunities to capitalize."

<b>THE SAXONS</b> have received solid play from sophomore goalie Mary Riley Pembroke.

"I think she’s had a few strong games and she played really well against Stone Bridge," said the coach.

DeSomma said sophomore midfielder Jillian Canning has been the team’s most steady player. Canning, part of Langley’s successful 4x400 indoor relay team this past winter, received a game ball for her stellar play against Stone Bridge.

"She’s really been our most consistent, hard working player out there," said DeSomma. "She plays hard for 50 minutes, is very intense and keeps improving in her skills like groundballs, catching, passing and field sense."

Langley was scheduled to play three games this week, including its Senior Night game against visiting South Lakes on Monday. The Saxons were scheduled to play Westfield on Tuesday and will travel to Madison for a district contest on Thursday.