After holding a 4-0 lead and eventually allowing their archrival to tie things at 5-5, Landon wasn’t going to allow Georgetown Prep to leave with their fourth consecutive win in the storied rivalry. Momentum was elsewhere, but with 1:21 remaining in the second overtime period, Bear sophomore attackman Nate Buller (Duke) fed junior midfielder Griffin Brown (Colgate), who turned around and finished a shot into the left side of the goal to give the Bears a 6-5 win and bring the sideline and student body into a frenzied on-field celebration.
The win – one that always means a tremendous amount to the school and its alums – was the first for the Bears’ senior class, having lost the last three games to the Little Hoyas during the Class of 2015’s time on varsity. Though the Bears played uncharacteristically at times and are struggling with injuries and depth, the win was a solid building block as they prepare for a road contest at Bullis (9-2) on Friday evening.
The Bears were stymied early by Prep senior goalie Joey Altemus (Bucknell) but managed Landon went up 2-0 after the first, outshooting their opponents 13-2 at that point. They then pushed that lead to 4-0 after Cornell-bound senior Rupp found Buller on a beautiful cross-crease pass for a quick stick finish at the 8:35 mark in the second quarter.
Prep was able to get their act together around the midway point in the 2nd, thanks in part to face-off man Bobby Hartwick (Dickinson) gaining confidence against Landon’s Jarrett Witzal (Bucknell) in relief of the Hoyas’ do-it-all senior Jack Olson, a Hopkins signee. Junior Matty Gardiner finished a Terry Lindsay (Duke) pass for the GP’s first goal, while David Lipka found the twine dodged inside with his left and made it 4-2. Playing in just his second game back after battling a hamstring injury, the senior Army commit paced Prep with two goals, providing the unit with spark as leading middies Olson and Lindsay were held scoreless.
In the second half, Hartwick continued to hit stride winning the ball to his wings, while the Prep D switched between zone and man-to-man looks, frustrating the Bears’ shooters. Little Hoya junior Keith Fernandez buried an unassisted bouncer with 2:26 remaining in the third, though Landon responded via Griffin Brown to end their scoring drought of nearly 20 minutes and take a 5-3 lead into the final quarter of play.
Both teams committed numerous unforced turnovers down the stretch, often times struggling to hit the cage when they had quality possessions. Playing as well as any goalie around, Landon’s Hunter Sells (JHU) was largely untested throughout until he saw a flurry of shots late in the game.
At the 4:50 and 4-minute mark, however, Lipka and Gardiner snuck two shots past Sells, tying things up and making for a super competitive (though filled with more turnovers) final few minutes. Rupp’s shot with 58 seconds left flew right over the crossbar and once Prep gained a possession and called a timeout, they weren’t able to find the back of the net to send the game into overtime for the third time in their last seven meetings.
Georgetown Prep started OT with possession when Hartwick popped the ball out to LSM Finn Dunne (Georgetown), though the Little Hoyas were soon hit with a costly offsides call and also failed to convert on EMO (caused by a Landon push call) to eventually send the game to a second overtime.
A few minutes in, Buller then drew the slide on a sweep and found Brown close to the goal for a turnaround finish to end the game.
“What can I say, You draw up plays and you get nothing out of the plays and then you just get a little spontaneous,” said an elated and relieved Rob Bordley, approaching his 600th win as Landon head coach. “We had said we want to keep the ball with our attack because we didn’t think that any middie was going to create anything. We said just get high crease, let those guys slide in and someone finish this damn game.”
There’s always a good chance that the two teams will meet for a rematch in the championship as they have four times since 2009, however other IAC teams like Bullis (Md.), St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) and Episcopal (Va.) have all found success this year.
The Little Hoyas, holding a 6-2 record with two overtime losses, will look to bounce back against Episcopal, also facing Gonzaga and Bullis over the next 10 days.