Langley crafted a 10-5 victory over a battling Lake Braddock squad in Northern Region boys’ lacrosse quarterfinals playoff action on the evening of May 14. With the win, the Saxons earned a spot in the semifinals where it was set to meet Chantilly (13-1).
Seven different Saxons contributed goals in the home win for the Liberty District champions, who improved to 16-1. Attackmen Ethan Bailey and Kyle Maida had a pair each to go with two from middie Joey Byrne. Attackers Jack Lundeen and Ryan Ningard, middie Charlie Scharfen and defender Joey Bennett scored one apiece.
Seniors Clarkson Meredith, Alex Caldwell and Jacob Bucher were the providers for the Bruins, who ended their 2009 campaign with a 7-5 record. A late-game goal from attackman Bucher capped scoring for the Patriot District third-seed team that had midfielder Meredith and attacker Caldwell supplying two each earlier in the game, but not before the hosts built a 5-0 margin within 13 minutes of the opening face-off.
Langley took a 6-1 lead into the halftime break and enjoyed a decisive 9-2 edge to start the fourth quarter.
Saxon goalie Galen Kuney turned back seven shots on his net while Lake Braddock netminder Wyce Asmati had 17 saves for the evening.
The Langley offense was lively from the beginning and had the Bruin defensive corps on their back foot throughout the early stages. Maida struck with barely a minute gone in the contest when he shot past Asmati from close range off of a crisp feed pass from Ningard, stationed behind the Lake Braddock goalie’s cage.
Bailey stirred up further early trouble for the Bruin defense when he popped up to snatch a long back-pass from a Lake Braddock defender that was intended for Asmati in front of his own goal. The Saxon attackman dodged the Bruin goalie and delivered the easy, open-net score to put his side up 2-0 only four minutes into the game.
Bailey got an assist two minutes later when his pass to Ningard set the senior attackman nicely to fire in for the third Langley goal at the 5:58 mark of the opening quarter. Ningard nearly got another from the ensuing face-off won by Byrne, but Asmati came up with the fine save, as he did again two minutes later on an attempt by Bailey from 15 yards.
Maida delivered his second of the contest with just over three minutes left in the opening period. The Saxon attacker, lurking to the side of Asmati’s cage, snared an off-target shot from middie Alex Devlin and quickly deposited the ball in the net for Langley’s fourth goal.
Lake Braddock mounted one promising scoring chance near the end of the first quarter only to see Saxon defender Trevor Shafran diffuse the threat from the charging Bruin longpoleman with a timely stick check just outside Kuney’s crease area.
Lundeen launched from ten yards out less than a minute into the second stanza to put Langley up by five goals. The Saxon attacker then nearly made it six for his team less than three minutes later but his backhand effort from close range was kept out by the busy Asmati.
<b>LAKE BRADDOCK</b> finally got its scoring breakthrough near the middle of the second quarter when Meredith’s bounce shot from 10 yards eluded Kuney and settled into the net.
The five-goal margin in favor of the hosts was soon restored, however, when Bennett delivered his first goal of the season with about five minutes left in the first half. The Langley longstickman pulled off a game-log "trifecta" on the play. He created the take-away near the midfield line, collected the loose ground ball and raced into attack for the finish - dispatching from about 12 yards to make the score 6-1.
The visitors courted more trouble from the Saxon attack when a couple of penalties put them into a two-man-down situation for 60 seconds at the 3:21 mark of the second quarter. Hard work and disciplined, close marking by the Bruin penalty-kill squad of Pat Read, Kyle Merrell, Matt Day and Rick Tkac paid off when Langley could do no better than a Byrne shot hitting the pipe 20 seconds into the two-man advantage.
Asmati saves on each side of half-time - with two stops on Byrne and a block on a Devlin shot -- preceded another positive for Lake Braddock. Meredith got his second goal of the game when he curled around the cage and flicked in from close range, getting the ball to dribble slowly into the net just beyond Kuney’s reach. But Bailey cancelled out this goal with his second of the night when he fought through a pair of Bruin defenders and fired in over Asmati’s shoulder at the 5:30 mark of the third quarter to get the score to 7-2.
The Lake Braddock goalie denied a pair of Devlin efforts with a little more than four minutes to go in the third quarter, but soon found himself and his defenders facing yet another full minute, two-man advantage for the Saxons. And again Coach Dennis Stewart saw his Bruin man-down defense perform well, this time with defender Steve Puffenbarger joining Merrell, Day and Tkac in keeping Langley scoreless during the two-man advantage.
The Saxons, however, delivered two goals within an eight-second span in the final moments of the third quarter to boost their lead to 9-2 and in effect start the gift wrapping of the win for Coach Earl Brewer. Scharfen got the first when he emerged from a scrum in the Langley attack area with the ball in his possession to drill in from about ten yards. Byrne followed when he won the subsequent face-off and blasted in from about 12 yards while being knocked down by a Lake Braddock defender with only seven seconds left on the third-quarter clock.
Byrne’s second of the game, and a pair of unassisted goals from the Bruin’s Caldwell on either side of Byrne’s score, produced a 10-4 score-line deep into the fourth quarter.
The visitors continued to press their attack through to the final stages, which included a man-up situation that Langley defender Cameron Hodge disrupted with good stick work behind Kuney’s cage. Hodge and fellow defender Thomas Robinson then combined well to stifle a Bruin clear attempt and get a failure-to-advance call against Lake Braddock with less than two minutes remaining.
The Bruins’ perseverance finally did pay off once again when Bucher fought through the Saxon defense to get his team its fifth and final goal of the game, and the last of Lake Braddock’s 2009 season, with less than a minute left in the contest.