Saxons win their first state title
LANGLEY 2, MADISON 0
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.