Last year the Langley High field hockey team experienced what Coach Terri Kerranen called "a low point" in the program's history. One year later, the Saxons are in the middle of what may be their best season ever.
And last night may have epitomized their turnaround. The Saxons won a close, 1-0 game over host Fairfax, with the lone goal coming from senior forward Kara Mackenzie, who had scored just once this season. The Saxons improved to 11-2-1 to remain at the top of the Virginia AAA Liberty District.
Last season, with much of the same lineup, Langley finished with a 2-11 record.
"It's something that's just totally unexpected," Mackenzie said. "So everything is a bonus."
"That's what's great about high school sports. Everything is different year to year," said Kerranen, a Langley alumna who has coached for five years at the school, the past three as varsity coach. "The difference is this year, we've won the 1-0 games. Whereas last year we'd lose in similar situations."
Langley easily could have lost last night's game to Fairfax (4-3). The Rebels had 16 penalty corners, while Langley had only four. The Rebels also had more shots, 12-8, and controlled possession time. Fairfax struggled on its penalty corners, however, and Langley goalie Lindsay Turner made eight saves. The Saxons also did a good job keeping Fairfax senior forward Carissa Mirasol, who many coaches feel is the best player in the area, away from the goal.
Mackenzie scored her goal with 21 minutes 52 seconds remaining in the first half, when she collected a rebound off Fairfax senior goalie Katie Redd and pushed it past Redd. "It was pretty lucky," Mackenzie said. "I just turned around, the ball was there, and I hit it in."
Langley's only losses came against No. 1 Lake Braddock and district rival McLean.
"We've all very happy with the way things are going," Kerranen said. "But we're not going to settle with what we have. We've seen our potential. I want to be fighting in the regionals. I'm not going to say number one, but we definitely thing we can compete there with the best teams."
BRYN MAWR 1, SEVERN 0: Unbeaten Bryn Mawr got an early goal from Rebecca Kiselewich and held on in an Association of Independent Schools A Division game in Baltimore. The Mawrtians (14-0) outshot Severn, 10-2, but the Admirals (6-4-3) got a strong nine-save effort from goalie Brenley Jacobs to stay close. Severn's best scoring chance came when Ashley Dodson was stopped by Bryn Mawr goalie Katie Coyne (two saves) at the doorstep.
Special correspondent Jeff Seidel contributed to this report.