Sax­ons win their first state ti­tle


The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY GABE HIATT gabe.hiatt@wash­

Sam Golan’s team­mates raised him up, avoid­ing for a mo­ment the scor­ing artist among them. When the Lan­g­ley sopho­more hopped off the shoul­ders of the Sax­ons boys’ soc­cer team, he found class­mate Ja­cob Labovitz and clapped him on the heart three times.

For 21matches be­fore the Vir­ginia 6A state cham­pi­onship Satur­day night, the sopho­mores had be­come the back­bone of the most suc­cess­ful team Lan­g­ley has ever seen. Golan was a pres­ence on the back line, and Labovitz made the game look gor­geous.

In the 34th minute at Robin­son, Labovitz han­dled a feed from Golan to fin­ish the first strike of a 2-0 win over Madi­son. Ju­nior Cameron Basco added a 50-yard shot to the top shelf to cut the ten­sion with three min­utes left to play, and the Sax­ons (20-1-1) cel­e­brated their fourth win over the Warhawks and their first state cham­pi­onship.

“I knew if I played to him, he’d score in­stantly,” Golan said. “It was a beau­ti­ful fin­ish by Ja­cob. It al­ways is.”

The win was Coach Bo Amato’s 100th at the school. “I can cry now,” Amato said. All year long, he said he thought the 2011 ver­sion of the Sax­ons that lost in the state semi­fi­nals were more tal­ented, but no team had a tighter bond than the 2015 edi­tion.

Af­ter Lan­g­ley (20-1-1) needed two at­tempts at a cooler dump to soak Amato, the play­ers all paid their re­spects to Labovitz with an em­brace. The sopho­more All-Met had missed two beau­ti­ful shots he cre­ated for him­self be­fore han­dling Golan’s as­sist.

Labovitz sent a slid­ing, twist­ing ball off the left post in the 13th minute and pro­pelled a ball for­ward with his back heel to give him­self an­other scor­ing chance in the 28th minute.

Whenit was time for the play­ers to hug Amato and be in­tro­duced as state champs, the coach bowed down to Labovitz, his pitch Pi­casso.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing the regular sea­son at 6-5-1, Madi­son (13-8-1) had its his­toric run come to an end.

The Warhawks had never ad­vanced be­yond a re­gion semi­fi­nal be­fore. They made it to the state fi­nal on the strength of set pieces, par­tic­u­larly long throwins from ju­nior John Dyson.

Stephen LaRow, who scored four goals to send the Warhawks to the semi­fi­nals, was re­buffed all night by Lan­g­ley’s back line.

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