There were minimal scoring chances and even fewer open spots from which to shoot last night during Langley's semifinal against McLean in the Liberty District girls' soccer tournament at W.T. Woodson. Not surprisingly, the game was scoreless at the end of regulation.
But eight minutes into sudden-death overtime, a pair of Langley freshmen worked a play 15 yards from the goal when Meghan Lenczyk passed to teammate Stephanie Groghan, giving her enough room to boot in a score and give the Saxons a berth in Friday's final against defending champion W.T. Woodson.
In the evening's first game, the second-ranked Cavaliers (12-0-1) had little trouble with Madison, scoring three goals in the first six minutes en route to a 4-0 win.
Langley (7-6) lost to W.T. Woodson in last year's championship.
McLean (9-4-1), which had its six-game winning streak snapped, still advances to next week's Northern Region tournament, as does Madison (6-8).
"In a long game like this you need a little luck and a lot of heart," said Groghan, a teammate of Lenczyk on the McLean Rockets select travel team. "It seemed like just a matter of time."
The Saxons had the advantage in possession for the game, and especially in the second half. With five minutes left in regulation, a Langley shot hit the crossbar and bounced downward, but the ball stayed in play. With 20 seconds left in regulation, there was a mad scramble in front of the goal, with multiple players falling to the ground, but none who were standing nearby could get off a good shot.
That wasn't the case earlier for the Cavaliers, who scored on a throw-in (Mary Raveia), a corner kick (Emily Chesbro) and off a crossing pass (Katherine Griendling) to immediately take the Warhawks out of contention.
"We wanted to come out strong and we did," said Woodson junior forward Claire Zimmeck, who scored her team-high 21st goal in the second half. "We really did click."
The last time the Cavaliers faced Madison, just nine days ago, the Warhawks scored first before Woodson answered with five consecutive goals. A slow start also was the case in the Cavaliers' first meeting with Langley. The Saxons scored first, but lost, 3-1.
Woodson hopes to have the services of key junior defender Raveia, who injured her leg yesterday. Coach Sean Burke said he was not sure of Raveia's availability.
"We need her," he said. "She's a great defender and a great distributor."