Time will tell whether the Langley High boys’ lacrosse team can successfully defend its Liberty District, Northern Region and Virginia State crowns over the upcoming weeks. But one thing is certain, coach Earl Brewer’s team is one red hot team entering the postseason.
Langley has just one loss this season. That came in overtime to non-region opponent Loudoun Valley, 8-7, several weeks ago over spring break. Since then, the Saxons have been rolling. Last week, they won three games – at home against Potomac School (McLean), 8-3, on Monday, April 19; and on the road at both Oakton, 14-7, on Wednesday, April 21, and South Lakes, 15-3, on Friday, April 23.
This week, Langley was set to close out the regular season schedule with a road game at McLean on Monday, April 26, and the season finale against visiting Marshall on Tuesday.
The district tournament is set to begin next Thursday, May 6. Langley will be the tournament’s top seed.
“I think we’ve gotten better every week,” said Brewer, of his team.
The Saxons have received solid play across the board. Brewer has been pleased with his team’s goalie play where junior Ryan Long and sophomore Andrew Spivey have shared duties in the net. Long, a left-hander who was the varsity back-up goalie in 2009, generally plays the entire first half of games. And Spivey, who was the JV goalie last year as a freshman, plays the second half.
It is an arrangement that has worked nicely for the Saxons.
“I haven’t even really thought about one of them playing the whole game,” said Brewer. “They both have been pretty equal. It gives teams a different look. They’ve both played well. And when one has made one or two mistakes, the other has picked him up.”
<b>OFFENSIVELY, LANGLEY’S SCORING</b> has been a true team effort as several players have made solid contributions. One of the team’s best players has been senior attack Ethan Bailey, who has scored 11 goals while dishing out 22 assists.
“Ethan is a shooter but he’s been distributing the ball to the other guys,” said Brewer. “He’s a great passer and puts the ball right on [teammates’] sticks.”
Bailey has put together five-assist games against South Lakes and Mount Vernon, and four against Fairfax.
Other top offensive contributors have been senior attack Jack Lundeen (19 goals, 9 assists), a part-time starter on last year’s state title winning team, and sophomore attack Sean Ahearn (21 goals).
“He made the varsity as a freshman [last year], but didn’t get lots of time,” said Brewer, of Ahearn. “He’s done some good things this year.”
Senior midfielders Joey Byrne (18 goals, 6 assists), a team captain, and Jack Curry (7 goals, 3 assists) have given the Saxons quality overall play and done good jobs on face-offs this season.
The Saxons’ scoring firepower is perhaps not as dominant as a year ago when three players totaled 40 or more points, but Langley has found ways to get the ball into the net.
“I think we’ve had like 18 different people score goals this year,” said Brewer, whose squad has averaged 12 goals per game.
On defense, Thomas Robinson, who has dealt with ankle problems, and Robbie Bennett have put together impressive seasons. Robinson (3 goals, 3 assists) is second on the team in groundball pickups with 42. Bennett, who covers opposing teams’ best midfielder, has led the Saxons with 50 groundballs.
“If he’s playing you you’re not a happy camper,” said Brewer, of Bennett’s tenacious defense. “He’s playing as good as anyone around, I think. He has blazing speed and can run all day.”
Brewer said Langley’s team defense can get even better. The Saxons have allowed 5.5 goals per game this season compared to 3.5 last year. But the Saxons allowed 11 in a win over Stone Bridge and eight in the setback to Loudoun Valley.
“I think defensively we’ve got to tighten up a little bit,” said Brewer. “We can play good defense and I think we will [in the playoffs]. That’s what we’re really focusing on.”