Alex Devlin left it late to deliver a game-deciding goal in a pulsating boys’ lacrosse contest between Liberty District rivals Langley and W.T. Woodson Friday evening, April 24. The visiting Cavaliers had crawled back from a 5-1 halftime deficit to get on level terms early in the final quarter. But the energetic Saxon middie provided the difference with 1 minute, 52 seconds remaining in regulation time to preserve a festive atmosphere for the home supporters during the Senior Night event at Langley. The 6-5 victory gave the unbeaten Saxons a 10-0 mark for the season and top spot in the district standings with one district game remaining, that against Madison.
Devlin also got the game opener, while Langley attackers Ethan Bailey and Ryan Ningard scored a pair apiece later in the first half. Woodson’s Marcus Berry put his team on the board with its first during second quarter play. The comeback effort by the Cavaliers during the second half yielded consecutive goals by middie Tyler Stellwag and single strikes from attackers Davis Mayberry and Paul Tunick.
The Saxons had the bit between the teeth from the start as Devlin needed only 24 seconds of game time to puncture the Woodson defenses and get the early lead for Langley with an unassisted goal.
Ningard doubled the lead about 3 minutes later, converting a pass from fellow attacker Jack Lundeen during an extra man situation for the Saxons. Langley could do little wrong in the early stages, and the lead could have been greater had it not been for Cavalier netminder Stephen Colangelo, who was called upon to make several saves, including a double block off of shots coming in quick succession from Bailey and Saxon middie Joey Byrne late in the first quarter.
The second quarter started ominously for Woodson, as the burden of a two-goal deficit became weightier by imposition of a 3-minute, non-releasable stick violation penalty on attacker Mayberry that put the visitors down a man against the potent Langley offense. The man advantage for the hosts led to the first of Bailey’s pair for the evening, but only that. Bailey did get his second of the evening near the midway point of the second quarter to put the Saxons up by four.
A bid to make it 5-0 nearly paid off when a deflected Langley shot almost found its way past Colangelo late in the half. But, in a flash, what was a promising chance for the hosts to put the game further beyond their opponent’s reach turned into an unsettled situation, then a fastbreak for the Cavaliers. The ensuing attack had Woodson middie Berry applying the finishing touch by shooting past Langley goalie Galen Kuney at the other end moments later. Ningard restored the four-goal lead for the Saxons late in the first half, which ended at 5-1.
<b>SECOND HALF ACTION</b> started with another attack forcing a good save from Kuney, which should have served as ample warning that the visitors were not going to go quietly in the night. Stellwag supplied the lifeline for the trailing Cavaliers when he exploited unsettled situations on two occasions within a 4-minute span to close the gap to three, then to two goals, by the middle of a third quarter.
Mayberry then produced a quick scoring shot to reduce the difference to one. Another unsettled situation, this time in front of Kuney’s net, gave Mayberry the opening he needed when Saxon defender Trevor Shafran lost his footing and slipped, which allowed the scorer to position well to fire past the Saxon goalie from close range.
The Cavaliers’ Tunick then added a dose of drama to the affair when he put in the equalizer early in the final quarter. A Woodson fast break started when Langley lost possession in its attack area and culminated with Tunick drilling in from about 12 yards to send the Cavaliers’ hopes soaring.
But Devlin had other ideas. After nearly 10 minutes of careful probing and nervous possession by both sides, the night’s hero used an inside roll to position well for flicking in over the shoulder of Colangelo and grab the winner for his Saxons with just under 2 minutes remaining in the game.
The remaining minutes included some jittery moments for each team. Woodson piled on pressure in search of a game-tying goal. Langley goalie Kuney was grateful for his goal frame keeping out a close-in shot off the stick of Cavalier attacker John Garguilo with about 18 seconds remaining. Then, the ball found its way to Devlin, who rode out all but the last couple of seconds with possession to get his Saxons home and dry for the evening.
Langley next visits Madison to complete a lightning-suspended game from last week that was stopped in the second quarter with the score tied at two.