Robinson had the game firmly in control by the time Langley scored its second goal midway through the third quarter of Friday’s Virginia 6A North region boys’ lacrosse final. But when the ball found the cage, the Rams looked stunned. The defense called for a huddle and circled around goalie Nick Kondracki to regroup, as if that one goal represented a major meltdown.
For the Robinson defense, it basically did.
Robinson didn’t have that feeling often as it locked down Langley in a 15-3 win, earning its first region title since 2010. The three goals allowed tied for the second-fewest by the Rams this season, a campaign in which the defense has been their decisive force.
The Rams (16-3) have allowed an average of five goals per game to Virginia 6A competition and surrendered more than 10 goals just once — to Interstate Athletic Conference powerhouse Landon in March. Since that game, Robinson has won 15 straight, allowing six or fewer goals in 11 of them.
Robinson Coach Matt Curran said the key has been exceptional talent and the work of defensive coordinator Eric Ruffer, also a part of that 2010 staff. All-American defenseman and North Carolina-commit Jack Rowlett said the spark comes from Ruffer’s schemes and the fact that this year’s defense is made up almost entirely of returning players. Sophomore attacker Johnny Daniel said it all starts with senior Kondracki, “the best he’s ever played with.”
It all meshed perfectly on this night and was bolstered by a stellar faceoff showing from junior Griffin Moore. Rowlett held Langley’s top scorer, Billy Orme, without a goal, and Kondracki made sure any good shots the Saxons had found the netting of his stick.
“The defense saves us so many times,” said Daniel, who started the onslaught with two of the Rams’ first four goals and finished with six points. “Whenever they make a stop, we get to come down and score. If we take a stupid shot that leads to a fast break, they hold their ground.”
By limiting Langley’s possessions and cutting short the ones the Saxons did get, Robinson frustrated the Saxons (14-6), who struggled as much to score against the Rams as they did to slow Daniel and Chapman Jasien, who also had three goals. The defense led to offense both indirectly and directly, as even a long stick got in on the scoring action when senior Steven Meyer added a goal late.
“This win is huge for us,” said Rowlett, noting that this was the first region championship for any player on the Rams’ roster. “The fact that we can hang another banner up at Robinson and bring another one back, it’s good for the program,”
Robinson hosts Battlefield on Tuesday in one Virginia 6A semifinal, while Langley travels to Osbourn Park for the other. If both teams win, they’ll meet again next Saturday for the state title.