Landon 6, Georgetown Prep 5
As darkness settled on Landon's J.A. Goddard Jr. Field last night in Bethesda, a new hero was born at the area's most storied lacrosse program, and he scripted perhaps the most dramatic and emotional chapter in a rivalry filled with heartbreak and elation.
Junior midfielder Stoddie Nibley scored a goal with one second remaining in regulation to force sudden-death overtime, then fired the game-winner with 2 minutes 40 seconds to play in the fourth overtime of the Interstate Athletic Conference tournament final to give the third-ranked Bears a 6-5 victory over No. 2 Georgetown Prep and the outright IAC title.
"Four overtimes, that's one that 30 years from now everyone's going to remember," Landon Coach Rob Bordley said. "Unbelievable game."
Landon (17-3) had already clinched a share of the IAC crown -- its 23rd in the 24 years the IAC has played lacrosse -- but it did not want to share it, least of all with Prep. Last year the Little Hoyas (16-4) beat the Bears twice after losing the teams' first 18 meetings to become the first team other than Landon to win the outright IAC title.
"Last year was an awful feeling," Nibley said. "But coming back and getting it back makes it feel that much better."
The Bears now have won 20 of the teams' 22 meetings -- seven by two goals or fewer, including four by one goal.
Georgetown Prep went scoreless for a 25:20 stretch that bridged the first, second and third quarters, and Landon built a 4-2 lead. But the Little Hoyas scored three straight goals in the second half -- the first and third by sophomore Andrew Brancaccio -- to take a 5-4 lead with 5:33 to play.
Georgetown Prep's defense, led by senior goalie Joey Kemp (14 saves), then survived four straight Landon shots, including a one-on-one opportunity in transition. But with time running out and Prep students inching toward the sideline to storm the field, Nibley took a feed from junior Gibbs Fogarty and fired a shot that barely beat the clock.
Both sides had multiple possessions in the first three four-minute, sudden-death overtimes, but the Bears spoiled theirs with unforced turnovers, and Prep had several good chances stopped by Landon senior goalkeeper Matt Harrigan (20 saves).
The athletic directors and coaches from both schools conferred with referees after the third overtime to decide whether or not to continue the game -- which had to be postponed an hour because of lightning just 39 seconds into the first quarter. Though it was past 8 p.m., they decided to continue. Senior Austin Sanders then won the fourth period's opening faceoff, and after a timeout, Nibley took a feed from sophomore George Huguely and scored to finish the game after 61 minutes and 20 seconds of lacrosse.
"I'm not sure we'll get anything bigger than that," Bordley said.