After winning each of its three region tournament games by a goal, Madison’s three-goal lead headed into the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s Virginia state boys’ lacrosse quarterfinal seemed like it might be a welcome break.
Even with that second-half cushion against AAA West-Central Section runner-up E.C. Glass, the Warhawks still allowed the game to become close.
Madison gave up three consecutive goals to start the fourth quarter, then finished with four of its own for an 11-7 victory over the Hilltoppers in Vienna.
“It looked like, for a second, it was going to slip away and become a really close match,” Warhawks senior Jim Bailey said. “We all knew we were going to get ahead and put the game away.”
After struggling last week in Madison’s triple-overtime Northern Region title game victory over Chantilly, it was Bailey who kept the slow-starting Warhawks (16-5) in the game through the first half on Saturday.
The senior midfielder netted all three of his team’s first-half goals and finished with a game-high four. Chris Albright, a junior, added three goals.
Madison’s biggest goal of the night came off the stick of senior midfielder Kyle Rowe, who found the back of the net twice against E.C. Glass after being held scoreless in each of the last two games.
Rowe’s second goal provided the decisive momentum switch, coming on a fast break just seven seconds after the Hilltoppers had tied the game at 7.
“I knew that we needed a spark,” Rowe said. “I was definitely going down trying to get a momentum boost for us.”
The win secures Madison a spot in Wednesday’s state semifinal game at Westfield, where it will face Dominion.
Before working on shooting or defense, the first order of business at every Madison girls’ lacrosse practice is running.
The Warhawks kick off each practice with two or three miles of sprints, conditioning meant to prepare them to play postseason lacrosse in the month of June.
With the temperature hovering around 90 degrees at opening draw, all those miles paid their dividends in a 23-9 state quarterfinal drubbing of Salem. The Warhawks starters were especially dominant, opening the first half with a 10-1 run and the second half with a 10-0 run before being pulled in favor of backups.
Nine Madison players scored, marking the eighth straight in which the Warhawks have scored at least 16 goals on an opponent. Sophomore Kiera Sweeny was the offensive leader for Madison (18-1), with four goals.
“We really wanted to make sure everyone knew who we were and how we are meant to be in this tournament,” Sweeny said. “Other teams better bring their game because we’re looking for a game that’s going to challenge us and hopefully we’ll get that in the next two games.”