0
Votes

Langley Girls Lacrosse Powers Way to Region Semifinals

Saxons defeat host W.T. Woodson, 14-9, in quarterfinals contest.

— The Langley High girls’ lacrosse team advanced to the semifinals of the Northern Virginia Regional Tournament with a 14-9 win over the Patriot District champion Lady Cavaliers of W.T. Woodson High School. The postseason contest took place last Friday, May 18 at Woodson.

The Saxons used a burst late in the first half to establish control and ran up an 11-goal lead in the second half before turning things over to the bench and allowing six late-game goals. Junior Grace Goettman and senior Margo Swomley led a balanced Saxon attack, scoring three goals apiece, with senior co-captains Ellie Glasgow and Kelly Martins, and junior Hayley Soutter, each scoring twice. Woodson’s senior standout Elena Orbregon tallied the Cavaliers’ only three goals in the first half and two in the second half, coming after competitive play ended.

Langley, the Liberty District champs who are ranked third in Laxpower’s Virginia State rankings, was scheduled to move on to face the fifth-ranked Centreville Wildcats in a regional semifinals game at Langley earlier this week on Wednesday night, May 23. The other regional semifinal game was to feature top-ranked Oakton hosting the No. 2 Madison Warhawks. The two regional finalists automatically gain a berth in the upcoming Virginia High School League State Tournament.

PLAYING ON WOODSON’S thick natural grass field under perfect conditions, Langley jumped out early in the region quarterfinals matchup, with Goettman leaping high to snare the opening draw and charging through the startled Cavaliers to register a goal within 10 seconds of the game’s opening whistle. Thirty seconds later, she struck again, when junior Olivia Sisson collected the draw, swooped behind the goal and found Goettman to make it 2-0.

The pairing of senior Elena Obregon and freshman sister Isabel kept Woodson in the game for much of the half, with the pair combining for two goals to knot things at 2-2 at 17:15. Langley controlled the ball for much of the next four minutes and the Saxons’ patience paid off when Glasgow threaded the needle with a nice pass that Sisson cleverly lobbed over the Woodson goalie to gain the lead. But Woodson scored only a minute later, the senior Obregon again, this time on a feed from junior Laura Dunn.

The last 10 minutes of the half belonged to the Lady Saxons, with Glasgow setting the tone with a determined move to gain the scoring angle and put Langley ahead for good. A long stretch of time played off the clock, until junior Hayley Soutter powered in, shedding defenders to score at 3:30 left in the half. Then the Saxons broke the Cavaliers’ spirit by scoring twice with less than a minute to play in the first half, with Glasgow scoring from the top of the key on a tough-angle feed from Goettman, then senior Kelly Martins flicking in a winner following a nifty shake-and-bake move by senior First Team All-Region Margo Swomley.

While Woodson grabbed the draw and charged downfield in the waning seconds, their hopes were dashed when junior First Team All-Region goalie Erin Long made a spectacular point-blank save seconds before the horn blew the first half closed with the Saxons up 7-3.

The second half opened in similar fashion, with senior Nicky Pritchett coming off the bench and making an immediate impact, sweeping in from the right side and threading a perfect assist to Swomley to make it 8-3 within 14 seconds of the whistle. With the Saxons slowing the pace and dominating the midfield, it would be six more minutes until Goettman forced a turnover on a heady midfield check, then fed Soutter, who made the extra pass for another Swomley swoosher. Langley controlled play on all ends of the field, with defending senior co-captains Macy Anderson and Caroline Mahoney, joined by junior Kelly Dore and goalie Long, locking down passing lanes and working transitions. Sophomore Jordan Simonides contributed valuable defensive and mid-field play.

Martins scored on a penalty, then Simonides speared a pass, fed Soutter, who found Pritchett for a no-doubter to make it 11-3 Saxons. Soutter then scored again on a nice Swomley assist. Swomley dashed in at 11:31 uncontested, and Goettman closed the Saxon scoring rampage at just under 10 minutes left with a streak across the circle and skillful left-handed finish.

With Langley coach Richard `Des’ DeSomma emptying the bench, and a poorly managed scoreboard clock lagging the actual game clock, there were some anxious minutes as the game wound down. Woodson’s starting squad showed their skills against the younger Saxons, ringing up six unanswered goals, two from Obregon. But the horn sounded with Langley firmly in control and joining the elite ranks of a regional semifinal bracket, featuring four of the top-five ranked teams in the state.