Alex Devlin needed just over a minute of overtime to score a goal, lifting the Langley High boys’ lacrosse team to a ground-breaking 4-3 win over Chantilly in the Virginia State AAA championship game played at Westfield High School last Sunday night.
Devlin, a senior midfielder, got free with the ball off the right side and sent a sizzling, bouncing, 12-yard shot into the net to end the spectacular title game, played on a gorgeous summer night and in front of a large, boisterous crowd.
A spectacular on-field Saxon celebration followed the score, which gave Langley its first-ever state crown at the expense of the defending state champion Chantilly team.
“I love these players and I love this team,” said longtime Saxon head coach Earl Brewer, who was hoisted onto the shoulders of Saxon defenders Thomas Robinson and Trevor Shafran during the emotional, postgame aftermath. “I can’t say enough about them. They’re just great kids and understand what [this accomplishment] means.”
Langley (21-1) completed a picture-perfect 10-0 postseason, winning the Liberty District tournament finals over Madison – a team that, during the regular season, had handed the Saxons their only defeat - before eventually capturing the program’s first region title with a championship game win over Robinson.
At states, Langley reached the title contest with victories over Stafford’s Brooke Point (Northwest Region) and Ashburn’s Broad Run (Dulles District).
The state finals game against Chantilly marked the second meeting between the two Northern Region teams this postseason. The Saxons had also beaten the Chargers in the region semifinals.
“It’s unbelievable to have won all three championships this year,” said Langley senior goalie Galen Kuney, of the Saxons’ district, region and state tourney crowns.
<b>LANGLEY</b>, which led the state finals game 2-1 at halftime and 3-1 after three quarters, got the better of the play most of the night, at times maintaining long possessions and outshooting Chantilly, 31-16.
But the seasoned defending champion Chargers would not fold, getting fourth quarter scores from Danny Abatemarco and Mike Turpyn, the latter goal dead-locking the game at 3-3 with 1 minute, 11 seconds remaining in regulation.
But in the four-minute overtime session, Langley midfielder Matt Cronin won the face-off to begin the session to get his team possession. Following a Langley timeout, the Saxons set up their offense and began zeroing in on the net. The Saxons took several shots before Devlin, who 40 seconds earlier had just missed a good scoring chance on a shot off the right side, cashed in on the game-winner with 2:56 showing on the clock.
“We called timeout and set that play up,” said Brewer, of Devlin’s goal. “[In his prior shot] Alex had shot a cannon and just missed it. I knew he wouldn’t miss a second time. He’s a great shooter.”
Langley’s goals in regulation had come from Joey Byrne, Ryan Ningard and Ethan Bailey. Saxon assists came from Devlin and Bailey. Kuney, the Langley goalie, earned the win in the net.
Chantilly goals came from Jared Golden, Abatemarco and Turpyn, all unassisted.
For Langley, a season’s worth of hard work and high expectations finished in triumph.
“It’s still setting in,” said Cronin, a senior set to play lacrosse at Mary Washington University next school year. “I can’t believe it. It seemed like the season was so long, but worth it.”