Over the past three seasons, as Langley built its dynasty atop Virginia boys’ lacrosse, the Northern Region championship proved a more elusive prize than state titles.
Entering Friday’s region final against Chantilly with a state tournament berth already assured, the host Saxons struggled to find flow. But with another championship on the table, Langley fought off fatigue and a late surge from its perennial postseason rivals to hang on for an 8-6 win. The victory gave the Saxons their second region title over a four-year run that has already included four district titles and three state championships.
Coming off a grueling semifinal win over Oakton Thursday night, the Saxons were sluggish at the start. But after needing a furious comeback to oust the Cougars one night prior, Langley shook off its nerves late in the first quarter to storm ahead.
“Obviously we were really tired. . . . but playing on our home field against Chantilly, that doesn’t matter,” Ahearn said.
Trailing by five goals early in the third quarter, the Chargers — fresh off an emotional overtime win against W.T. Woodson on Thursday — picked up their intensity to cut into the deficit. Luke Bowers, Daniel Decenzo, Conrad Unterkofler and Nico Alcalde gave the Chargers four unanswered goals to pull them within one. But Luke Salzer answered with a wrap-around goal to provide the final cushion and senior goalie Andrew Spivey made several saves to seal it.
“Every time Chantilly comes out harder than ever,” Spivey said. “If we see them again — which there’s a good chance we will — we’ve just got to continue to match their intensity.”. . .
In the AA Northern Region semifinal, Dominion knocked off previously unbeaten Kettle Run, 14-9, to clinch a state tournament berth. The game, which had been postponed twice due to weather, remained close until the second half when the Titans scored three unanswered goals to take a 10-7 lead. Sophomore Ben Tarrant scored four goals for the Titans, who will host Woodgrove in Tuesday’s final.
The Oakton girls’ team struggled to play at Langley’s deliberate pace in the opening half of the AAA Northern Region final, but the Cougars asserted themselves in the draw circle to push the tempo and pull out a 9-7 win.
“The girls were prepared for Langley’s pace, but I don’t think they knew how extreme it would be,” Oakton Coach Jean Counts said. “But controlling the draws in the second half made them change their gameplan.”
With the score knotted at 7, sophomore defender Oliva Townswend stripped a Langley attacker to send Oakton (15-2) into its attacking zone for the go-ahead goal.
Kelsey Clarke’s late tally sealed the win.. . .
In the AA Northern Region final, second-year Woodgrove never trailed in a 15-9 win over Loudoun County. Junior Keira Hornyak scored four goals and Bailey Carver finished with 14 saves for the Wolverines, who will host Langley in a state quarterfinal. Loudoun County will travel to Oakton.