In 1993, a junior named Andy Neviaser was making his first start as an attackman for Landon's lacrosse team in the Bears' annual grudge match with Georgetown Prep. He scored a fourth quarter goal with less than two minutes remaining to cap a furious comeback and give the Bears a memorable 6-5 victory.
Five years later, in the mud and slop that was Georgetown Prep's field, T.J. Harker fired a shot that found the Little Hoyas' net with just seven seconds to play. It gave the Bears a 5-4 triumph in what many consider the most memorable of the 22 games the Landon and Georgetown Prep lacrosse teams have played.
And in 2002, two-time All-Met Player of the Year Matt Ward capped perhaps Landon's finest season: a 20-0 campaign that ended with the Bears ranked No. 1 in the nation by scoring an overtime game-winner in the Interstate Athletic Conference championship game against Georgetown Prep.
There are seemingly a plethora of magical moments in the Landon lacrosse program's history. And in the dusk at Landon's J.A. Goddard Jr. Field last week, junior midfielder Stoddie Nibley penned two more -- a pair of goals that arguably were the most dramatic and clutch in Bears lore.
First, with time running out and Georgetown Prep leading 6-5, Nibley took a feed from junior Gibbs Fogarty and fired a shot that barely beat Little Hoyas goalie Joey Kemp and barely beat the clock. It hit the net with one second to play.
Then, after three four-minute sudden-death overtime periods yielded no goals -- though plenty of opportunities -- Nibley won the game in the fourth overtime.
"I'm not sure we'll get anything bigger than that," said Landon Coach Rob Bordley. "Matt Ward is a great star down at [the University of] Virginia, and he can tell you probably that, Georgetown Prep, two years ago, in overtime here for an IAC title to end our season 20-0 -- that will exceed anything he's ever done since."
The goals were remarkable not only because of the circumstances in the game but also because of what was at stake. In 2003, Landon lost to Georgetown Prep twice -- the Bears' first two losses to the Little Hoyas ever after 18 straight victories -- and did not win a share of the IAC title for the first time in the 23 years the league had lacrosse. This season, the Bears lost one-goal games to Washington Catholic Athletic Conference teams DeMatha and Gonzaga, their first ever to teams from the WCAC.
The combined effect of Prep's title last season and the losses this year had some questioning whether Landon's mystique and its stranglehold on lacrosse supremacy in the area was slipping. Nibley's goal -- and the unanimous IAC title they provided -- answered that, at least for now, the Bears still are the standard by which all other Washington-area programs are measured.
"It's a great feeling," Bordley said. "I don't know if it's sad or not, but in some ways the school measures itself around the lacrosse team. Which I'm very proud of, but at the same time, that's a huge burden that these . . . kids have to shoulder.
"Somebody told me, after the first Georgetown Prep game [this year], that the climate of the school had changed overnight. That something they prized for two decades and lost, they'd recaptured. . . . Four overtimes, that's one they'll put in the history books of Washington-area lacrosse."