It wasn’t a climactic finish, but the 18-7 victory over Bullis in the Interstate Athletic Conference final was unforgettable, Buller said, and it was a fitting way for one of the best teams in the school’s history to end its perfect season.
“It’s something special about coming to Landon, putting this jersey on, wearing the name across your chest,” Buller said. “It’s not the ordinary lacrosse team. It’s not the ordinary spring. It’s really not. You gotta play for Landon to really feel that. It’s been a hell of a ride. Cherry on top.”
No. 1 Landon (21-0) won on the cold Friday afternoon in Bethesda the same way it did in its prior 20 games. Buller notched five goals, Justin Shockey dominated the faceoffs and senior goalie Shane Corcoran was steady in net as Landon captured its 31st IAC title and clinched its fourth undefeated season in its history.
No. 2 Bullis (18-3) scored the game’s first two goals, the first on a behind-the-back shot from Bryson Shaw, but the Bears took a 3-2 lead late in the first quarter and never looked back.
Shockey helped Landon win 19 of 26 faceoffs and notched three goals, halting the Bulldogs’ momentum whenever they threatened. Early in the second quarter, as the Landon fans shouted “Shock! Shock! Shock!” he won a faceoff and scored six seconds later to put the Bears ahead 5-2. Later in the quarter, after Bullis ended Landon’s 9-0 run, Shockey struck again by scoring five seconds after a faceoff.
The game came down to the final quarter when the teams met a month ago, but in Friday’s IAC final, Landon showed why it is ranked first in the Nike/US Lacrosse Top 25.
“You have to bring that other gear every single day to practice. You gotta have that gear off the field, too. Your whole life revolves around the season,” Buller said. “You’re playing for the alumni, you’re playing for the name across your chest.”
With two minutes remaining, Coach Rob Bordley started cleaning up the sideline and putting the balls in the bucket. The students, clad in brown and orange, chanted “Undefeated!” while the players laughed and hugged as the final seconds ticked away.
When the game went final, they threw their equipment in the air and sprinted toward Corcoran before retreating to the sideline where their fans waited.
“It’s always the dream, but we made it a reality. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys,” Corcoran said. “We came into the year, let’s win the IAC. We went one game at a time and now we’re 21-0.”
St. Anselm’s captured the Washington Interscholastic Lacrosse League boys championship with a 16-11 win over Wilson on Friday.
The Panthers (11-3) rode a ball-sharing offense to the title. Alex Shipe finished with eight assists for the Panthers, and attack Hayden Dangle notched two goals and three assists. Wilson (10-8) was led by Jalen Coleman’s four goals. But the Tigers’ effort was hampered by eight penalties.
Wilson closed the gap to 10-9 in the third quarter, but then St. Anselm’s settled the tempo, took long, methodical possessions and soon celebrated a championship on its home field.
“It’s a testament to the senior leadership and also the newer guys who are getting on board and able to contribute,” St. Anselm’s Coach Blake Hollinger, who is in his third year heading the program, said Friday. “But it has been top-down, everybody is contributing and I just could not be more proud of these guys for what they accomplished to this point.”
Jesse Dougherty contributed to this report.