Boys’ Lacrosse: Mitchell Goldberg shoots Bullis past St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes

Bullis senior Mitchell Goldberg has logged enough hours tinkering with his powerful left-handed shot that he could tell he was slinging it well Tuesday in pregame warmups.

While St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes was busy honoring its seniors in the minutes before the opening faceoff, the lanky midfielder wondered if the positive vibes would carry into the Interstate Athletic Conference contest.

Goldberg set up camp on the right side of the net and proceeded to take aim with one side-armed blast after another in Bullis’s 8-4 win over the fifth-ranked Saints on a damp evening in Alexandria. He found the net three times and also set up a late insurance goal as the Bulldogs grabbed the third seed in the upcoming IAC tournament behind third-ranked Georgetown Prep and fourth-ranked Landon.

“I was just feeling it today,” Goldberg said. “The rain helped a little, I think. My stick wasn’t working that great yesterday in practice, but I got it tuned in.”

With a youthful offense that features two freshman starting attackmen, Bullis (8-8, 2-3 IAC) has taken its lumps at times because of an inability to come up with goals in crunch time.

The Bulldogs have five one-goal losses, including three in overtime. They entered Tuesday’s game coming off a 5-4 triple-overtime setback to Georgetown Prep in which they surrendered a four-goal lead.

But Bullis managed to avoid a similar fate against St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (12-6, 2-3) with Goldberg supplying the finishing blow. The Richmond recruit had a hand in the team’s final four goals, including two in the fourth quarter.

Goldberg’s final goal stopped a scoreless drought of nearly 20 minutes and senior goalie Brandon Burke (Brown) made seven of his 11 saves in the second half.

“Ideally, this group is learning,” Coach Bobby Pollicino said. “You hope that they’re gaining experience and confidence every time out. . . . We’re trying to pass along this Bullis culture that we’re out here to win, not just to be competitive.”

St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes threatened the comeback. It trimmed the lead to 6-4 on senior Seth Miller’s second goal late in the third quarter but got no closer.

With 5:49 remaining, Goldberg took a pass from freshman Nicky Petkevich with enough space to rip a shot just above the turf that tucked into the far corner of the net for a man-up goal. After junior Joe Stucky won the ensuing faceoff, Goldberg assisted on senior Kyle Nemeroff’s goal 57 seconds later.

Now Bullis heads into the postseason, hoping for a chance to make up for those disappointing finishes. The Bulldogs had the tournament's No. 1 seed last year, only to fall to Landon at home in the title game.

“We’ve played everyone close,” Goldberg said. “We know that everyone has a chance in this thing. We just have to play our best lacrosse and we should be in it.”

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