Lacrosse: Langley girls, boys advance to state semifinals

In a 27-second stretch of Saturday’s state quarterfinal against Woodgrove, the Langley girls’ lacrosse team flashed two styles of offense that have made it one of Virginia’s most powerful teams.

The Saxons methodically worked the ball around the perimeter for two minutes before Margo Swomley fed a slashing Rachel Wagner in front for a goal. Then, after winning the ensuing draw, Grace Goettman scored in transition before the Wolverines could recover.

Langley repeated the pattern throughout its 13-7 win in Purcellville; the Saxons seamlessly shifted between deliberate and direct attacks as Woodgrove struggled to assert its preferred pace.

The Saxons will face Battlefield in the state semifinals at Westfield on Tuesday. Battlefield advanced with a 14-11 victory over Albemarle on Thursday.

“When we need to go fast, we take it to the goal hard,” Goettman said. “We always look for transition, but we also trust ourselves to take it slow, work it around and be patient. That really wears the defense down over the course of the game.”

Wagner scored four goals, Kelly Martins and Olivia Sisson added two each and Erin Long finished with eight saves for the Saxons (16-3), who led 7-3 at the half.

Ellen Fuller scored three of her four goals on free-position shots and junior goalie Bailey Carver (8 saves) matched Long early to keep the Wolverines (14-4) afloat.

In another quarterfinal, Northern Region champion Oakton continued its dominant run with a 20-2 win over Loudoun County. Senior midfielder Jackie Rupp scored three goals and added three assists and Carly Palmucci had two goals and four assists for the Cougars (16-2).

Oakton earned a semifinal matchup with Western Albemarle, which defeated Forest Park, 12-9.

Chantilly boys advance

The Chantilly boys’ team used dominant ball possession, lockdown defense and a highlight-reel goal just before halftime to claim an 11-2 victory over host Woodgrove in the second half of the doubleheader.

The Chargers will face Battlefield, which edged Patrick Henry-Roanoke, 11-9, in the semifinals at Westfield on Wednesday.

With the final seconds ticking off the clock in the second quarter, Luke Bowers rifled a 30-yard pass to Daniel Decenzo at the left post. With a flick of the wrists, Decenzo beat the goalie and the horn to send the Chargers (17-3) into the break with a 5-0 advantage.

“He saw me behind the goal and I put my hand up. I was coming around and he just whipped it at the goal and I snagged it — I don’t know how — and finished,” Decenzo said. “That was huge for us and it killed their intensity.”

Meantime, Langley, the three-time defending state champion, led from start to finish in an 18-5 rout of visiting Dominion. The Saxons will face E.C. Glass, a 12-1 winner against North Stafford, in Wednesday’s semifinals.

The Saxons (20-2) led 5-0 after the opening quarter and 12-2 at the half, enabling them to tinker with different midfield combinations and faceoff men in the second half.

Senior captain Sean Ahearn had three goals and four assists and Josh Sibio added four goals and an assist to lead 10 players who scored goals.

Battlefield rallied from an early deficit to get past Patrick Henry-Roanoke and advance to its first state semifinal.

With the score tied at 7 late in the third, the Bobcats (19-1) scored four unanswered goals over a seven-minute stretch that spanned the third and fourth quarters and Cameron Maples won two key faceoffs to help the Bobcats hold on.

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