Girls Lax: Langley Pummels McLean

Langley Saxons 18
McLean Highlanders 3

If the two teams have seen the Mel Gibson film, the Langley Saxons certainly didn’t follow the scri pt, as they routed the invading McLean Highlanders 18-3 Monday night.

The Saxon squad continued to demonstrate why they are considered one of Virginia’s elite teams. Currently ranked # 3 in the computer rankings, the Saxon sharp shooters hit the target at a 67% scoring rate. Led by scoring sensation sophomore Margo Swomley (4 goals on 5 shots and 1 assist), and junior Torrie Zarella (3 goals on 7 shots with 3 draws) and sophomore Nicky Pritchett (1 goal on 2 shots) the Saxons jumped out to a five goal half-time lead over the Highlanders by a sore of 8-3 and the Highlanders never found the net again.

The Saxons only improved their marksmanship in the second half as junior, Nicole Burkart, playing perhaps one of her best games of the season scored 2 goals on 3 shots and connected on 1 assist. “One of the most beautiful feeds from Torrie and shot by Nicole I’ve seen. If you blinked you missed it,” coach DeSomma commented.

The Lady Saxons quarterback, Elspeth McGarry controlled the tempo and had another smart all purpose game with 3 goals on 4 shots and 2 assists. The club’s fine shooting continued at a nearly 80% success rate in the second half as senior, Jill Canning, sophomore Mary Redmond and freshman Devon Clark each found the net with their only shots of the night.

Head Coach DeSomma commented, “Lost or hidden in this abundance of offensive exuberance is the fact our defense enhances our offensive success.”

The Langley patient, team-oriented style of offense, which relies on many passes and constant movement, has something to do with keeping all the players involved at both ends of the field and some credit must go to Langley’s first year goalie coach, Gary Morgan.

When asked, Coach Morgan explained, that taking on responsibility for our goalies has freed up coach DeSomma to focus on developing some of his younger players who have blossomed under his tutelage.  Sophomores Nicky Pritchett, and Margo Swomley are among the team leaders in goals scored and Ellie Glasgow and Kelly Martins, and Anna Helmer are strong and aggressive defensive middies.

When pressed for a statistical explanation for the teams fine performance, Coach DeSomma said the Saxons are blessed with talent and have great chemistry with senior leadership from captains, Natalie Dolan, Elspeth McGary and Mary Riley Pembroke. He also commented that there is just too much subjectivity in how teams keep track of these things and at Langley we take the most conservative approach we can. We track very closely only shots that score or those that would have scored had they not been stopped by the goalie. “We discount shots that go over the bar, or wide of the net or off the post. It’s in ours and our girls best interest to insure our statistics are as close to accurate as possible and that they reflect reality.”

Langley believes this approach gives them a much more accurate representation of how well a team is shooting and how well a goalie is playing. Using this method, the Saxons scored at a 67% rate of its shots

Langley’s Megan Link allowed only 3 goals on 7 shots for an excellent 57% save rate. The Saxon closer, Mary Riley Pembroke, stopped one free positon shot and smothered two point blank shots to go along with two interceptions to complete a 100% save rate.

When asked about her performance and her exceptional seasonal save rate of over 60% against some of Virginia’s top programs, Mary Riley said, “Megan and I hope to not see too many 1v1 point blank opportunities. Coach Morgan teaches us to relax and stay in good position and just react. Sometimes you catch it, more often your deflect it or it hits a part of your body and you just hope it doesn’t go in and your defense gets the rebound.”

A lot of what goes into making a save happens is the preparation before the shot. “Meg and I are fortunate to have a great defense in front of us. Natalie (Dolan, senior) is a strong physical player who sets the tone for our low D. Mary Beth (Winston, junior) never seems to be out of position, and Macy (Anderson, sophomore) has really stepped it up this year. They communicate and support each other to channel shooters into low percentage shooting zones. But they also need to count heavily upon our speedy middies, Jill (Canning), Kelly (Martins), Ellie (Glasgow), Nicky (Pritchett) and Elspeth (McGarry) to control the middle, and of course Torrie (Zarella) to take the draw.

It works! Go figure?  The stats don’t lie!

Recognized for their fine play this year, four Langley Saxons: Natalie Dolan (low D), Elspeth McGarry (middy), Mary Riley Pembroke (goalie) and junior Torrie Zarella (draw/middy) have been invited to represent Langley on the Northern Region Commonwealth Team.

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