Boys’ lacrosse: Georgetown Prep edges Landon in Interstate Athletic Conference title game

The rivalry between Georgetown Prep and Landon lacrosse has long been established as one of the best in the area, but their meetings in the Interstate Athletic Conference title game have become a tradition all their own. The two teams have met in the league championship game 10 out of the last 12 years.

On Saturday, students from both sides aggressively entered the stadium by running full speed to the bleachers before the opening faceoff. On the field, it wasn’t much different. Each possession of the top-ranked Little Hoyas’ 10-7 victory over the No. 3 Bears (19-4) featured similarly calculated mayhem .

That made the last goal of Georgetown Prep’s Brendan Collins’ decorated career all the more stunning. The senior was exhausted while trotting into the center of the Landon zone with less than two minutes to play. His team led 9-7, a margin that meant little with the teams trading goals all half.

That’s when Collins noticed Landon’s goalkeeper was covering one of his teammates away from the net, and he snuck through the Bears’ defense to score on an open net. It may have been the least contested shot of his senior year, but his third goal of the day was the dagger in the Little Hoyas’ emotional win in North Bethesda. It marked Georgetown Prep’s first title since 2011, when it beat Landon in overtime.

“When we went up three goals right there at the end, I put the one empty-netter, I think that was when the whole team started to know,” Collins said. “You have to hand it to Landon, I mean, right when we would score, they would score.”

The top-ranked Little Hoyas rally in the second half to defeat the Landon Bears, 10-7. (Andrew Kloc for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

Senior Tanner Holifield added two goals for Prep (19-1), which returned to the pinnacle of the league after failing to make the final last season. The Little Hoyas were upset in their regular-season finale against St. Albans, but they played with a sense of urgency . Holifield scored his second goal of the afternoon early in the third period to give his team a 5-2 lead, but it also sparked a scoring frenzy from both sides — the two teams combined to score six goals in nearly three minutes during the frame, and Landon cut the lead to 8-7 after Zack Buller scored early in the fourth quarter.

“Everything is bigger [in the IAC title game]. All the mistakes you make, all the choices you make,” Holifield said. “It’s magnified.”

Virginia-bound goalie Will Railey was stalwart in the final minutes. Junior David Lipka (West Point), Collins (Notre Dame) and Holifield (Colby) carried the day for Prep.

“I wouldn’t have rather played anybody other than Landon,” said Holifield. “We knew it was going to be close,” Holifield said. “It definitely lived up to all expectations.”

Roman Stubbs covers the University of Maryland athletics for The Washington Post.
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