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Langley Girls Lacrosse Powers Way to State Semis With Win Over Woodgrove

Saxons ready to take on Battlefield High in semifinals Wednesday at Westfield.

— The Langley High girls lacrosse team moved into the semifinals of the Virginia High School League state championship tournament with a convincing 13-7 win over the Northern AA champion Woodgrove Wolverines last Saturday.

The Lady Saxons opened a 7-3 halftime lead and never looked back against the overmatched host team. Keying a balanced attack, junior Rachel Wagner broke out with a season-high four-goal outing, while senior co-captain Kelly Martins and junior Olivia Sisson chipped in two apiece.

The Langley defense dominated its end of the field, smothering Woodgrove’s offense, which scored primarily on penalty shots resulting from a tightly called game. All Northern Virginia Region Defensive Player of the Year, goalie Erin Long, stopped eight Wolverine shots.

Langley got off to a fast start when Sisson scooped the opening draw and found Wagner streaking down the right side. The junior went over the top at a tough angle to ignite the Saxon faithful at 24:37 and set the tone for a tough-minded Langley approach to the state tournament.

Woodgrove evened things a minute later when senior Ellen Fuller drew a penalty from the extremely vigilant refereeing team and converted. Langley controlled the ensuing draw and patiently probed the Wolverine defense for a full 10 minutes before senior Margo Swomely threaded a pass to Wagner, who powered a left-handed shot in to make it 2-1 and give the Lady Saxons a lead they would not relinquish.

Having put the game on ice, the Lady Saxons then showed fire with junior Hayley Soutter winning her own draw and whipping the ball to Junior Grace Goettman, who finished to make it 3-1 at 13:03. Two minutes later, the Saxons struck again, Goettman completing a stirring dash through midfield by finding Swomley loose in front of the goal to make it 4-1. Martins capped off the Saxon surge at 8:01 after Soutter forced a Wolverine turnover, controlled the ground ball and made a brilliant pass to Martins who whipped home the goal for a 5-1 Langley lead.

The remainder of the half saw choppy play as whistles slowed down Langley’s forced pace. Fuller scored her second goal on a penalty called at 7:41. But the Saxons quickly answered with Soutter again taking the draw and assisting, this time finding Sisson for a quick strike at 7:20. With the Saxon defense grinding down the Woodgrove offense, five minutes elapsed before Fuller again drew a whistle and scored. Just as quickly, the Saxons struck back with Sisson on the serving end to Martins, who registered her second tally at 1:51 to end the half 7-3, Saxons.

THE SECOND HALF opened with the team’s exchanging possession amidst numerous whistles that blunted Saxon momentum. Woodgrove cut the lead to three with a goal at 21:41 to make it 7-4, but Langley dominated the next eight minutes to effectively seal the game. Goalie Long’s save led to a full field sprint by Soutter, who found senior co-captain Ellie Glasgow for the score at 19:22. Then Martins scored again on a feed by Goettman a mere 40 seconds later to make it 9-4.

Senior Nicky Pritchett got in on the act with a tally at 15:22 on another Soutter feed, and then Soutter scored herself a minute later to make it 11-4. Wagner then drew a penalty and fired home a winner to cap the five goal burst and make it 12-4 with 13:10 left.

Woodgrove chipped away at the Saxon lead, but could generate little momentum against the stalwart Langley defense. Langley had trouble adjusting to the tightly called game, picking up a number of second half yellow cards. But the tenacious and coordinated play of senior co-captain Macy Anderson, junior Kelly Dore, and particularly senior Caroline Mahoney, who gobbled up numerous ground balls, kept Woodgrove from mounting much of a comeback. Three goals were registered in the next six minutes, but Wagner completed her four-goal night at 6:05 on a feed from Glasgow to make it 13-7, and that would be the only scoring left in the game. The Lady Saxons moved the ball around on offense against the flagging Wolverines, and locked down the defensive end to close out the game.

“This was a great game that showed our depth on both ends of the field,” said Langley head coach Richard `Des’ DeSomma. "We were all happy to see Rachel Wagner break out with four goals. We managed the defensive end beautifully, particularly in the late going.”

Langley moves on to the state semifinals to face Battlefield, the Northwest Regional champ and quarterfinals winners over Albemarle High, at Westfield High School on Tuesday, June 5 at 6 p.m.