As Stone Bridge’s shifty sophomore attackman Dylan Maltz squirmed to the front of the crease midway through the fourth quarter of a critical early-season AAA Liberty District contest, Langley goalie Andrew Spivey braced himself for another high shot.
Maltz went low, leaving the Saxons’ netminder no choice but to fling his right foot out in desperation. The ball smashed off the inside of his cleat and toward the sideline. It was the most instinctive save on a night full of them for Langley’s junior goalie.
With Spivey backing them up, the No. 9 Saxons put forth their most physical effort of the young season to claim a 10-4 victory in Ashburn.
“Our defense hadn’t been too physical so far this season, but they really were tonight,” said Spivey who finished with 12 saves. “We knew we had a very talented attackman to cover in Maltz and the guys in front of me made it difficult for him, which was great.”
Langley controlled possession and flow from the outset and opened the scoring just 1 minute 20 seconds into the game when junior Michael Adams tallied the first of his game-high four goals. With precise spacing and patience in the offensive end, the Saxons (2-1) peppered Stone Bridge junior goalie Jesse Southward with shots in the first half as the Bulldogs struggled to pick up groundballs and clear their zone.
“We were very patient on offense,” junior attackman Sean Ahearn said. “We took our time, wasted some clock and eventually took our shots and they fell.”
Langley entered the half with a 4-0 advantage, but after a pair of big hits briefly knocked out two of their top players, the Bulldogs battled back.
Maltz, who is adjusting to the absence of older brother Derek (Syracuse) as the Bulldogs’ offensive catalyst, fought his way to the front of the cage time and time again, but faced constant pressure from Langley junior defender Chandler Suk. Two minutes into the third quarter, Maltz found a narrow opening but after his shot was stopped by Spivey, he was drilled in the midsection and crumpled to the turf. Moments later, Southward took a shot to the head while playing a loose ball behind the net and eventually wobbled off the field.
Both players returned shortly thereafter, sparking a brief rally from the Bulldogs (2-3), who showed resilience in a chippy second half. Junior Anthony Giachinta was the first to beat Spivey on a feed from J.P. Giroux with seven minutes left in the period. Three minutes later, Maltz (two goals) got on the board to pull Stone Bridge within 6-2.
But Langley remained in control throughout as Ahearn orchestrated the attack with four assists to go with a pair of goals. Senior Jack Sandusky added two goals and an assist for the Saxons who have already knocked off the second- and third-place finishers in the district from a season ago following a 12-3 season-opening defeat at No. 2 Georgetown Prep.
“The loss to Prep can only help,” Spivey said. “Now all of a sudden, we’re 2-0 in the district against the two teams that might be our greatest competition. We’re not going to put it on cruise control, but we’re really confident at this point.”