On Monday afternoon, Michelle Langley found out she would be the starting goalie for the Mount Vernon field hockey team, which was preparing to play for its first Virginia AAA National District title against Yorktown. Langley, a senior, had not played the position since her freshman year, and even then only sparingly.
But she looked every part a veteran yesterday in Arlington, making nine saves to help the Majors defeat Yorktown, 2-1. Mount Vernon, which improved to 15-2 overall, finished 11-1 in the district. Second-place Yorktown dropped to 8-2.
Mount Vernon was a charter member when the seven-team National District was created six years ago, the same year that Coach Kate Sheafe was hired. The Majors have since advanced to the Northern Region playoffs five times, but the highest the team ever finished was second.
Mount Vernon's goal of capturing the title was dealt a setback last weekend when Sheafe found out that starting goalie Stephanie Schmidt would miss the rest of the season because of a family emergency. Sheafe turned to Langley, a versatile player who had started at left link, sweeper and center forward this year.
"It was kind of like, 'Oh my God, you're putting me in?' " Langley said. "But I felt good about it. I think she made the right decision. I think I made the right decision in saying yes."
The only goal Langley yielded was to junior Kaylin Leavitt which came two minutes into the second half and tied the score at 1. Mount Vernon had scored its first goal in the first half, when junior Meghan Sable pushed in a rebound off a shot by junior teammate Cara Hurrin.
Mount Vernon answered Leavitt's goal when junior Mariana Rohweder slapped in a shot off of a corner.
"There's no field hockey banner in the [Mount Vernon] gym," Sheafe said. "It's something nice, that they'll be able to come back to school some day and see they were a part of this."