The Washington Post

Despite relying on new cast, Langley looking for a repeat


It might not be spring just yet, but the soccer season in Northern Virginia kicks off this week. For most teams, it’s a time of possibilit­y and hope.

For the Langley Saxons, the one local program that took home a state championsh­ip last spring, the vibe is different. Every defending champion handles that following season differentl­y, and Coach Bo Amato — who also won it all with Langley in 2015 and 2017 — knows it can bring a unique set of emotions.

“It can be positive and negative,” Amato said. “Sometimes it means they think they’re better than they are. But on the positive side, they’ve smelt it, they’ve seen it, they’ve touched it — they’ve realized that a championsh­ip is possible.”

Langley will rely on a new cast this spring; it returns just two starters from last year’s squad and already has faced injury issues.

The Saxons lead our first rankings, followed closely by a pack of Class 6 contenders. Riverside and Meridian, two programs that came up just short of state championsh­ips last spring, also feature in the top five. (Records from last season) 1. Langley (18-2-1)

First-team All-met selection Aidan Connolly is one of the few returning starters for the defending Class 6 champions.

2. Washington-liberty (16-1-1) Coach Jimmy Carrasquil­lo’s squad spent much of last season as the Class 6 team to beat. A consistent winner, the Generals probably will be a tough opponent again this spring.

3. Osbourn (17-1-4)

First-team All-met Cooper Noseworthy leads an Eagles team that had a breakout season last spring.

4. Riverside (15-7-0)

The Rams turned it on at the end of last season, piecing together a surprising run to the Class 5 championsh­ip.

5. Meridian (18-2-1)

The Mustangs, Class 3 finalists last season, will be without longtime coach Frank Spinello, who retired at the end of last season.

6. Yorktown (16-3-2)

Last season, the Patriots carried an undefeated record into May. This year, they will have to adjust to life without All-met Player of the Year Tristan Kickbush, who now plays at the University of Mary Washington.

7. Lewis (14-4-1)

Coach John Millward’s program has been a Northern Virginia contender in recent years, making it to the Class 5 championsh­ip in 2021 and the Class 6 quarterfin­als last season.

8. Briar Woods (14-3-3)

In its first season under Coach Gabriel Ascunce, the Falcons advanced to the Class 5 quarterfin­als last year.

9. Gar-field (14-3-2)

The Red Wolves, coming off a strong 2022 campaign, are expected to be another Prince William County contender.

10. Mclean (9-10-1)

The Highlander­s, Cinderella­s of last postseason, were one overtime goal away from a Class 6 championsh­ip appearance.

On the bubble: Alexandria City, Loudoun Valley, Osbourn Park, Tuscarora, W.T. Woodson

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