“Who’s got it tonight?” a fan in the Langley High bleachers at Wednesday’s Virginia 6A North region semifinal asked a gentleman to his left, who seemed to know about these things.
The man just shook his head.
On the other, there was Langley: a state final fixture which saw its run of titles snapped at four last spring. Molded by the guile of a veteran, sparked by the emergence of an excitable senior attackman, the Saxons found their way back to the precipice of the state tournament.
Regulation was not enough to decide it, but just 39 seconds into overtime, Langley senior attackman Billy Orme delivered the answer.
His goal gave the Saxons a 7-6 victory and a spot in Friday’s region final. Langley will host Robinson, which held off Yorktown, 10-8, in the other semifinal.
“Of course we knew it would be close,” Orme said. “It’s Chantilly, they’re our rival.”
Close games are generally a given whenever the Saxons and Chargers get together, and the two have combined to win every Virginia boys’ lacrosse title since 2008.
Nothing seemed able to pry the rivals away from each other Wednesday.
With a burst of three goals in 18 seconds, Langley took a two-goal lead in the fourth quarter. It didn’t last. Chantilly (15-2) tied it a few minutes later.
A few standout stops from Meehan provided no separation, because Saxons sophomore Patrick Dunne responded with several heart-stoppers of his own. One came with a Charger attacker feet from him, winding to shoot with seemingly no chance to miss.
Thanks to Dunne, he did.
“He was incredible,” Langley Coach Earl Brewer said. “He was so into it tonight. They had a chance at the end, at the doorstep, and he snuffed that guy out.”
Ultimately, it was Brewer and his high-energy, high-volume attacker Orme who made the difference.
When Langley (14-5) won the opening faceoff in overtime, Brewer called timeout.
Orme told him he wanted the ball, and after 33 years of coaching, Brewer knew what to do.
Orme already had three goals in the game. He wrapped around the goal, hid the ball, fired and scored.
“I’ve definitely dreamed of doing that, and I just did it,” Orme said. “Watching the ball go in, I was so full of emotion that I was just quiet. And that doesn’t happen a lot.”
In the other semifinal, Robinson fended off a late Yorktown rally to win its 14th straight game and advance to Friday's region final. After a 1-3 start to the season, the Rams also clinched a spot in the Virginia 6A state semifinals.
The Patriots were close early on Wednesday. But Robinson took a 5-3 halftime lead, then led by four at the start of the fourth quarter.
Yorktown has been the upstart team in the region this spring, and was largely considered a surprise semifinalist after knocking off Oakton and South County. The Patriots made a late run to get within striking distance. But Robinson's defense, its strongest unit this season, withstood the surge to secure the win.