After winning their first eight games of the season, the Falls Church High School varsity boys lacrosse team dropped two straight in the final week of April, none more painful than the 7-6 loss to Yorktown on April 28.
That game gave the Jaguars their only district loss of the season, and in turn gave Yorktown the National District regular season crown. In analyzing the close contest, Falls Church Head Coach Geoffrey Young pointed to the Yorktown goaltender, junior Sam Ridgely, who made 16 saves.
“In the second half [Ridgely] played the game of his life. He stopped everything and that led to us taking poor shots at times and rushing and that is not our game,” Young said.
The loss to Yorktown followed a 17-5 beating at the hands of Westfield, the Jags' first loss of the year.
“Our heads were getting big and we were feeling really good about ourselves and we needed to get handled to see where we really stand. That game did that for us,” Young said. “Westfield was a very good test. We have to play a Concorde District team in the first round of the regional playoffs, so it helped us.”
While the Yorktown game marked the return of standout Keith Long for Falls Church, the Jags weren't firing on all cylinders until their regular season finale against Washington-Lee. The Generals were riding a six-game winning streak into that contest, before being stopped by the Jaguars behind three goals and four assists from Long. Young labels that game as the best his team has played all season, listing ball control and time management as their top keys to success.
“We played our game to a 'T' and took Washington-Lee out of it and made them rush,” Young said. “They had the best face-off guy we had seen all year and we competed at a high level and that's why we were successful.”
The Jaguars began play in the National District Tournament Wednesday, again squaring off against Washington-Lee. Results of that game were not available at press time. A win would advance Falls Church to the finals on Friday, May 9 at 5:30 p.m.
Note: Falls Church placed seven members of its squad onto the All-National District First Team, with Connor Simmons, Alex Nanthavong, Keith Long, Andrew Frank, Chi Chi Eap, James Hulette and Paul Cossack all earning spots on the honorary roster.
Jeremy Jones, Nick Engquist, Evan Hanson and Dat Ho were each named to the second team, while Matt Evans was named “Rookie of the Year.”