With a 12-5 win over cross-town rival Oakton on Saturday night, the Madison boys lacrosse team put a exclamation point on the 2008 regular season. The Warhawks, who went 6-1 in the Liberty District this year, averaged 13.6 goals per game, hitting double-digits in all but three games.
“We have a nice little momentum run going and if we can keep it up this week, we will be in good shape,” said head coach Nate Dewey.
The Warhawks’ lone district blemish this year comes at the hands of the Langley Saxons, who beat Madison, 11-9, on April 17. The loss marks the third-consecutive game that the Warhawks have fallen to the Saxons by less than three goals.
“[It’s about] getting over that Langley barrier,” said Dewey. “We have to find a way to get past those guys.”
When the district tournament starts on May 5, the Warhawks will have already had plenty of big-game experience. Adding to games against Liberty powers Langley and Woodson, Dewey made it a point to strengthen the Warhawks’ slate this year – getting Westfield, Oakton and Maryland power Glenelg on the schedule.
While Madison dropped their matches against Glenelg and Westfield, Dewey has already started to see the benefits of playing those top teams.
“The game with Glenelg offered a chance to play somebody really top of the line. Those games are always good in trying what we need to work on,” said Dewey. “Now the end result is that we got a win over Woodson and a win over Oakton.”
<b>THE WARHAWKS HAD</b> not beaten Oakton since 2001. Since then, the games have gone so far in the Cougars’ favor that the marquee matchup was sporadically left off the schedule.
Getting a chance at the Cougars this year, Madison jumped out to an early 3-0 lead.
“We came out really fired up and played hard,” said Dewey.
While Oakton was able to come back to tie the game at 3-3, the Warhawks reclaimed the lead by the end of the first half and stayed on top for the majority of the game.
‘It was the first really complete game that they put together,” said Dewey.
Since losing to Langley, the Warhawks have played like a team possessed, scoring 52 goals over the next three games. Senior attack A.J. Cybulski and Kevin Hayden, along with junior attack Mike Hayden have each surpassed 40 points on the year, with Cybulski approaching the school record for points in a career.
“We just aren’t sure on the all-time mark, but we know that he is pretty close,” said Dewey of Cybulski, who has 193 points in his high school career. “He will probably break that in the first or second game of districts.”
<b>THE WARHAWK DEFENSE</b> has also begun to elevate their game. In Madison’s two Northern Region losses, the Warhawks scored nine goals.
“It really came down to saying that if we score nine goals against a good team, you really should expect to win that game,” said Dewey. “It has been more of a challenge to the defense and they have really started to step up.”
In the final three games of the regular season, the Warhawk defense has allowed 6.6 goals per game.
“I think that we are in the right direction, it’s now time to fine-tune it.”