Coach Earl Brewer’s 4-0 Saxons, currently atop the Liberty District standings but only by virtue of goal differential (rival Woodson is also 4-0 in district play), delivered a crisp 10-3 win over the Albemarle Patriots on April 4 to kick off a busy spring break schedule of four non-district contests within a five-day span. The Langley team, already displaying good form in the early battles of the 2009 boys’ lacrosse campaign, was eager to produce in its first home match-up of the year. Against the Patriots from Charlottesville the Saxons did not disappoint.
Goals from Ryan Ningard and Jeremy Kuney put the hosts up by two midway through the first quarter. The Patriots got their first score later in the opening quarter, followed by a run of eight consecutive goals from five different Saxons that largely put the game out of the reach of the Commonwealth District visitors by the third quarter. In addition to Ningard, Alex Devlin, Kyle Maida, Jack Lundeen and Joey Byrne contributed to the eight-goal surge. Albemarle closed out the scoring with a couple of goals late in the game.
<b>TWO DAYS EARLIER</b>, the Saxons assured themselves of a place at the top of the district standings going into the spring break with a 16-1 victory at Stone Bridge. Attackers Ryan Ningard and Ethan Bailey netted five and four goals, respectively. Six Saxon middies scored as well — Joey Byrne with a pair and Bryan Clubb, Alex Devlin, Jeremy Kuney, Ryan Miller and Charlie Scharfen with one each. Attackmen Chris Wilson delivered the lone goal for the Bulldogs, now 2-2 in district competition.
The win got Langley to 4-0 in district play - all road games -and tied for top spot with Woodson, also 4-0 against district opponents this season.
The visitors, against the Bulldogs, enjoyed the better possession from the opening face-off, and within the first four minutes Ningard then Devlin struck to stake Langley to an early two-goal lead. But Wilson slipped one past Saxon netminder Galen Kuney less than a minute later that cut the Bulldogs deficit by half, spawning some belief that perhaps a seesaw battle might be in the making.
The remainder of the evening’s goal production, however, belonged to the Saxons despite a spirited Bulldog effort to keep the district frontrunners at bay. Bailey drilled past Stone Bridge goalie Jesse Southward near the midpoint of the first quarter, and Scharfen picked up Langley’s fourth after sprinting from his defensive end into attack and unleashing a shot that found the back of the net with 1:41 remaining in the opening period.
A man-advantage opportunity carrying into the second quarter offered some hope of a way back for the trailing Bulldogs but was cut short due to an illegal-stick violation detected by officials during the first break. Stone Bridge defenders managed to limit Langley to just a single goal from Bailey during well over two minutes of man-down play during the ensuing non-releasable penalty.
Saxon bench depth and better organization in fast break situations, however, continued to pose problems for the hosts. Little more than a minute after even-strength play was restored, middie Kuney opened his scoring account for the season with a bounce shot past Southward. A Ningard hat trick within a five-minute span put Langley comfortably ahead 9-1 by half-time.
The Saxons kept the Stone Bridge defensive corps busy throughout the second half as well. Bailey collected a pair while Ningard added his fifth of the contest during the third quarter.
The fourth quarter opened with Byrne scoring two, the second from a rebound off a sharp reaction save by Southward that fell to the Saxon middie, who raked in past the beleaguered Bulldog goalie from short range. An unassisted strike from Miller followed a little over a minute later. Clubb completed the game’s scoresheet late in the contest with his first senior varsity goal, a close-in angled shot off of a nice feed from longstickman Robbie Bennett while the Saxons were shorthanded.
Liberty District action resumes at home for both squads on Thursday, April 16, with Langley facing South Lakes (1-2) in the Saxon’s district home opener, and the Bulldogs squaring off against Woodson.