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Defending State Champion Saxons Open New Season

Langley boys defeat Madison in lacrosse opener.

Coach Earl Brewer’s Langley High boys’ lacrosse team lost just one game all of last season – a regular season contest versus Liberty District opponent Madison. That was the Saxons’ only setback in a spectacular spring that saw them go on to finish 21-1 overall and capture district, Northern Region and state AAA crowns.

This past Saturday afternoon, Langley began defense of its district, region and state titles with an impressive 9-6 district victory over visiting Madison, the lone team to experience victory over the Saxons in 2009. Langley was led in scoring by sophomore Sean Ahearn, who tallied three goals for the winners. Senior Ethan Bailey, meanwhile, added two goals. In the net for Langley was sophomore goalie Andrew Spivey, who had nine second half saves in helping the Saxons overcome a 5-3 deficit.

While Madison accounted for Langley’s only loss last year, the Saxons ultimately avenged that setback by defeating the Warhawks in the district tournament championship game.

So Saturday’s season opener was the first meeting between the Liberty contenders since that title game meeting.

Langley was scheduled to play again earlier this week against visiting district opponent Marshall on Monday night. The Saxons are not scheduled to play any more games later this week but will take part in a sprig break tournament at West Springfield High School next week (March 29-31).

While it will be difficult to match the success of a year ago, Langley will certainly be giving it their best shot. The ’09 season ended in spectacular fashion with a 4-3 overtime win over Chantilly in last season’s state finals contest at Westfield High School. In that title game, Saxon midfielder Alex Devlin, who has since graduated, scored the game-winner a minute into the overtime to give the Saxons their first-ever state championship.

Now, in the season after, Langley will be looking to create more championship memories.

“We really worked hard in the offseason,” said Brewer, of his team’s solid offseason preparations for this spring. “We played in a lot of tournaments in the summer and fall.”

Team Langley, as the Saxons’ summer and fall league teams are known, competed in showcase tournaments in such places as Baltimore and New Jersey this past autumn. The locals were coached by former Saxon players during the summer and fall schedules.

<b>THIS YEAR’S SAXONS</b> will receive outstanding leadership from senior team captains Thomas Robinson, Robbie Bennett, Joey Byrne and Bailey – all of whom were key juniors on last year’s squad.

Robinson, a defender and third year starter, earned First Team All-District accolades last year. He brings size (6-foot-3 inches) and outstanding speed to the Saxons’ line-up. Robinson is committed to play the sport collegiately at Loyola University in Baltimore next school year.

Also helping keep other teams’ offenses at bay will be Bennett, a long stick midfielder and defensive stopper.

“He’s even better this year – incredibly fast and a physical player,” said Brewer, of Bennett.

Byrne, a First Team All-District midfielder last year who has committed to play collegiately at West Point, will be one of Langley’s key face-off men this spring.

“He’s one of the center pieces of our offense,” said Brewer, of Byrne.

And Bailey, an attack player who scored the game-winning goal in Langley’s region finals overtime win over Robinson last year, has one of the hardest shots in the region, according to Brewer. Bailey is set to play the collegiate game at Virginia Military Institute next school year.

“He looks like a college player already,” said Brewer.

Key non-seniors on this year’s roster include juniors Brendan Dwyer (defense) and Jack Lundeen (attack).

Lundeen will give the Saxons’ offense a terrific boost.

“Jack is a second year starter with great vision and good speed as well,” said Brewer. “He will create offense for us.”

At goalie, both Spivey, the JV net-minder last year, and junior Ryan Long, the varsity back-up last year, will bring stellar play at the critical position.

“Both guys are fighting it out right now,” said Brewer, of the competition to earn the starting role. “Both are very talented.”

With talent across the line-up, this is sure to be another excellent season for Langley lacrosse.