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Langley Girls Get Early Lead; Defeat Battlefield in State Lax Semis

Saxons set to play Northern Region opponent Oakton in Saturday state finals at Westfield.

— The Langley High girls lacrosse team jumped to an early 5-0 lead against Battlefield High (Haymarket) in the first game of the VHSL State Tournament semifinals last Tuesday night, June 5 at Westfield High School and cruised to an 11-6 win.

Senior Margo Swomley led a balanced Langley attack with three goals, while senior co-captain Ellie Glasgow and junior Rachel Wagner each scored twice. Goalie Erin Long, the All-Northern Region Defensive Player of the Year, turned in another outstanding performance in the net with seven saves.

Having reached the state finals for the first time in the girls program’s history, Langley is now set for a rematch against the Northern Region champion Oakton Cougars, who won the second semifinal game played later on Tuesday evening, overwhelming Western Albemarle, 19-6. The state finals championship game between the Cougars and Saxons is set to take place 6 p.m. this Saturday, June 9 at Westfield.

Following the girls’ title tilt, the boys’ state championship game will be played between Langley and Chantilly. It will be a great night of double-header state finals action.

The Lady Saxons proved too quick and athletic for Battlefield at the outset of Tuesday’s girls’ semifinals meeting, running up a 5-0 lead in the first 11 minutes. Wagner continued her recent heady play, consistently being in the right place on the field, this time converting on a put-back of a missed shot by senior co-captain Kelly Martins to make it 1-0 at 21:14. With junior Grace Goettman winning most of the draws, the Saxons pressed the Bulldogs hard in the opening frame with a number of dead-on shots bouncing off the pipes until Glasgow jumped the Bulldog goalie’s attempted clearing pass, feeding Swomley for a score at 19:34.

Swomley would tally again on a penalty call, her shot squirting across the carpet for a 3-0 lead. Martins would muscle in and draw a penalty, converting for a 4-0 lead and then Glasgow did the same at 14:21, when the beleaguered Bulldogs called a timeout with the score 5-0.

Battlefield battled back, finally breaking through at the 9:31 mark on a goal by senior Laura Szczgrba. At 5:45, they converted another penalty, this by sophomore Abbey Westcott. But the Saxons answered when junior Hayley Soutter won the draw and then reversed the ball through Martins to Wagner, who hit Glasgow for the lightning score to make it 6-2 and blunt the Bulldog surge.

With 2:25 left in the half, Mary Margaret McCaleb scored to cut the lead to 6-3. Then Goettman completed a beautiful sequence when Martins found her galloping across the center for a swooping finish to end the half at 7-3 Saxons.

THE SECOND HALF featured less open play as the Saxons controlled the tempo and slowed the game down. Mary Margaret McCaleb scored on a penalty at12:50 to cut the lead to three again, but the Saxons played strong defense with goalie Long registering critical saves on several open-look Bulldog penalty shots. On the offensive end, the Saxons patiently ran set plays to build another five goal lead. Soutter initiated a strong run from outside the circle, feeding Glasgow who found senior Nicky Pritchett for a score at 16:54. Then, Soutter again drove the action, running a nifty two-man, give-and-go with Swomley that allowed the senior to slip the flummoxed defense in front of the goal for an open-netter to make it 9-4.

McCaleb scored again on a put-back following a penalty shot, and tension rose a bit when Faith Wells for Battlefield scored at 9:20 to make it 9-6. As she has been throughout the playoff run, Wagner was the steadying force for Langley, picking up a penalty with a nice move and then launching at the whistle from the right side of the circle, crossing the crease and waiting until the goalie had committed to release an unstoppable left-handed winner to make it 10-6 with 5:45 left.

Minutes later, Soutter's quick move left her defender sprawled on the turf at the top of the circle, and the ensuing shooting space call left her free to rifle a goal and end the scoring at 3:55. The Lady Saxons were content to run the clock out from there with a re-match against the powerful Cougars looming as the last obstacle in a brilliant late season run.

“We missed some opportunities but found a way to control the game and earn the victory,” said Saxon coach Richard `Des’ DeSomma. “Reaching the state finals for the first time is a great accomplishment for the Langley girls lacrosse program. Oakton has a dynamic team and we must play the best game we are capable of on Saturday.”