Great Falls The Langley Saxons defeated the Oakton Cougars in a Northern Region boys’ lacrosse semifinals playoff game last Thursday, May 24. As a result, the Saxons booked their passage to the Northern Region boys’ finals the following day (Friday, May 25 versus Chantilly) and also earned an automatic seeding for the upcoming Virginia High School League (VHSL) state playoffs for the fourth year running.
Langley, in Thursday’s region semifinals, bested the talented and host team Cougars by a score of 16-12. The Saxons then went on to defeat the Chantilly Chargers, 7-6, for the region crown on Friday night at Langley. Chantilly had earned its place in the championship game by defeating W.T. Woodson in an overtime contest of the other semifinals game on Thursday.
With only two state competition slots allotted to Northern Region teams starting this year, the loss on Thursday ended a Cougar campaign just short of advancing beyond regional play. But it was a terrific season for Oakton, with highlights including a Concorde District title and a key district playoff road win over Chantilly.
Oakton, in the loss to Langley, had the upper hand for much of the first half of play on Thursday, keeping the Saxons on the back foot for a good stretch of time leading up to a promising 7-3 lead with less than a minute remaining until halftime. But Langley sharpshooter Mike Adams, who ended up adding seven goals to his scoring account for the season, popped up to snap in a couple in the remaining 28 seconds before the intermission to re-adjust the score line to 7-5.
Adams’ quick work in the dying moments of the opening half would serve as a warning sign of things to come, as the Saxons proceeded to unload into the Oakton net that was ably guarded by senior Connor Anderson for much of the front end of the contest. Three strikes in a span of 20 seconds midway through the third quarter put Langley into the passing lane. Senior attacker Sean Ahearn furnished the second of his three goals for the night, followed by Adams’ third goal of the game right from the ensuing face-off - senior Spencer Gorham winning the re-start, with passes through sophomore Billy Orme and fellow attacker Ahearn on to the senior attackman for the game-tier in a matter of eight seconds. The following face-off led to sophomore attacker J. T. Meyer drilling in a shot only 11 seconds later putting the Saxons in front for good.
Senior Clay Rivers added his one for the night to make it 9-7 just a couple of minutes later, the Langley middie launching from 10 yards after a long possession and patient build-up by the Saxons on offense.
THE COUGARS seemed to have settled the commotion in front of Anderson’s cage as the third period neared completion, even to the point of forcing Langley goalie Andrew Spivey into action at the other end with a couple of saves and an interception of an incoming pass. But the Saxons conspired to sneak another one in with less than a second left in the quarter, out of a scoring move that started with a cross-field volley by Spivey as the clock time neared zero. Ahearn collected the loose ball that trickled from the crease-side skirmish between a Cougar defender and Langley attacker Josh Sibio, to deposit past Anderson with a fraction of a second still showing on the game clock.
Sibio converted less than 11 seconds later in game time at the start of the final period giving the Saxons a convincing four-goal lead. Again, Gorham with the face-off win - the middie prevailed on two-thirds of the game’s center spot restarts - passes to Meyer then on to the Langley senior for the sure finish.
Adams topped off the nine-goal run with his fourth of the night soon after on an assist from Ahearn, staking his side to a commanding five-goal edge with a little more than eight minutes left in the game. The remainder of the encounter featured back-and-forth moves and scoring in rainy, often slick conditions with Oakton getting no closer than three goals behind as the fate of its season came down to a 16-12 home defeat.
In addition to seven goals from Adams and Ahearn’s three for the night, the Saxons got a pair of goals from Meyer and senior middie Slater Howell, as well as the solo strikes from Rivers and Sibio. Three Cougar attackers delivered hat tricks in the game – seniors Evan Lalande and Sean Schweiker, and junior Jack Harris – to go with single goals from three middies, seniors Michael Durst and Stephen Lambrides, and sophomore Cory Harris.
Spivey was credited with six saves in goal while Anderson turned away 11 goal-bound shots.
Notes: The Cougars (13-7) have now fallen to the Saxons (18-2) in six straight meetings, including three times in regional tournament play since the Oakton win at Langley in a 2008 region quarterfinal that sent the Saxons to clean out their lockers that season.