Virginia boys' lacrosse championship

Langley, Joey Byrne make amends, win Virginia AA/AAA lacrosse championship

The Langley boys' lacrosse team tops Loudoun Valley and wins its second consecutive Virginia state lacrosse title on Saturday, June 12.
By Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 13, 2010

Langley senior Joey Byrne could not shake the feeling of the Saxons' region championship loss to Robinson.

Not since he slipped when going for a shot and saw the ball go the other way and end in the game-winning goal in overtime. And especially not when he had a chance for retribution in the Virginia boys' lacrosse state championship.

Byrne, who transferred to Langley last year from Gonzaga, was superb for the Saxons on Saturday night, scoring four goals and setting the tone on the offensive end for Langley as the Saxons downed Loudoun Valley, 12-5, at Westfield to win a second consecutive state title.

"I was just disappointed in my play, I turned the ball over in overtime and it just so happened that I decided to come out here and play well tonight," Byrne said. "I thank my teammates for setting me up in the perfect position to score."

It has been more than two months since the night on March 30 when Loudoun Valley downed Langley, 8-7, in overtime in Purcellville. But the loss, one of just two suffered this season by the Saxons, remained motivation for many on the team.

"I looked at the game and realized what we need to do to get better," Byrne said. "Obviously it shows that we worked on the things we need to work on."

Loudoun Valley (18-4) had been held to fewer than six goals just once this season, a 12-4 loss to St. Stephen's/St. Agnes, but they could not solve a physical Langley defense. The Vikings also struggled with unforced errors.

"They got up on us quick and by the time the second half rolled around we were just beat," said Loudoun Valley All-Met senior Garrett Swankowski. "We kept throwing the ball away, a lot of empty possession and the defense got ran down."

Back-to-back: The Saxons (20-2) became the second team since VHSL officially sponsored a lacrosse state championship to win back-to-back titles. Robinson won the first two state titles in 2006 and 2007. Full house: The game was played in front of a large crowd that included a large Langley student section dressed in all black and Loudoun Valley fans that saluted their team with a chorus of bells after big plays.

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