Throughout the first month of the season, one of the Landon lacrosse team’s most consistent habits seemed to be its erratic offense. Bogged down by injuries and inexperience, the eighth-ranked Bears let four tight games turn into one-goal losses, in large part because of their inability to execute in crunch time.
In one nine-minute stretch Wednesday at No. 2 Georgetown Prep, senior Hank Brown found the much-sought remedy to the weeks of struggle, at least temporarily. The midfielder came through with three goals and an assist in the second-half run that sparked Landon’s 8-4 win over the rival Little Hoyas in an Interstate Athletic Conference matchup in North Bethesda.
“Prep-Landon — you’ve got to make the big plays at the end,” Brown said. “That’s what it’s all about. You want to continue the tradition in a great rivalry.”
The Bears flashed a more familiar form Wednesday, matching Georgetown Prep’s intensity from the start in a game in which they never trailed.
Landon (5-5, 1-1) couldn’t shake Georgetown Prep (9-3, 1-1) until the final quarter, but Brown’s offense helped eliminate any chance another game might slip away late.
Brown, who also added a first-half assist, began the decisive run when he flicked in a left-handed shot with 51 seconds left in the third quarter — a tally that snapped a more than 17-minute scoreless stretch. After Georgetown Prep cut the lead to 4-3 early in the fourth quarter, he set up sophomore Sean O’Brien for a transition goal before taking a vicious illegal check that earned an extra-man chance.
The Drexel recruit cashed in with a man-up goal 41 seconds later that made it 6-3 with 7 minutes 51 seconds left and added another score three minutes later to effectively clinch the win that the Bears hope can turn their season around.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” said senior goalie Alex Joyce, who made eight saves. “I guess people have a hard time understanding our team. I have a hard time making sense of it sometimes.”
Brown said the team hasn’t been bothered by its early struggles, knowing the importance put on the postseason in the IAC.
Last season, Landon put together an 18-game winning streak that ended with an overtime loss to Georgetown Prep in the IAC tournament final. Even after a third-place finish in the conference in the regular season, the Little Hoyas celebrated the outright title.
“You want to play all the best teams, and you try to get better each day,” Brown said. “We came out and got better today and showed why we’re still contenders.”
Junior Bear Altemus led Georgetown Prep with a goal and an assist.