BETHESDA — National powers and conference rivals Bullis Bulldogs and Landon Bears met on the gridiron for varsity boys lacrosse Friday at Bordley Stadium at Triplett Field but when the dust settled the Bears emerged with a 10-5 victory over the Bulldogs.
Landon, who earned their third consecutive win, jumped out to a 7-2 halftime lead and never looked back.
The Bears were led by Joey Epstein and John Geppert, who combined for eight goals. Epstein, an Under Armour All-American, finished with five goals and three assists while Geppert added three goals and an assist.
Zach Johnson and Graham Hertzberg also scored goals for Landon and Garrett Kurtz contributed an assist in the winning effort.
“This is a good win to give us confidence,” said Espstein, a Johns Hopkins recruit. “We really believe we should win this league or we can win this league.”
Landon jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first quarter and compiled four goals from Epstein by the midway point. Geppert, Johnson and Hertzberg also scored first-half goals for the Bears.
Landon’s Mitch Laughlin, a junior, had an outstanding performance against Bullis, finishing with 16 saves for the Bears.
“Yeah, Mitch stood on his freaking head,” said Epstein. “I mean that was an unbelievable performance by him. Defense played great also, really allowing outside shots and tightening up but Mitch was an absolute beast today seeing everything.”
Meanwhile, Bullis was led by Bryson Shaw, Robert Schain, Jonathan Bender, Immanuel Brown and Isaac Aronson who each scored goals for the Bulldogs. Connor Shellenberger, a highly-touted junior attackman, was held scoreless against Landon.
Bullis entered the contest with a high national ranking but was humbled by the loss.
“It’s very tough for us,” said Shaw. “We thought we were prepared. We worked really hard.”
The 2018 campaign marks the final season for Landon head coach Rob Bordley who has guided the lacrosse program for more than four decades.
During his tenure at Landon, Bordley has led the Bears to 31 Interstate Athletic Conference championships including 22 straight titles from 1981 to 2002. Landon has also been named the nation’s top-ranked team by US Lacrosse Magazine four times under Bordley’s watch, including last season when the Bears finished 21-0.
“Last year we were an undefeated great team,” said Epstein. “This year I think we’re definitely a different animal but I think we can reach that potential and obviously win an IAC championship.”
The Bears certainly want to send Bordley out with a bang in his final campaign at the Bethesda private school; the team hopes to capture yet another national championship for the trophy case.
“It will be a real disappointment if we don’t get this done for him,” said Epstein. “He deserves a national championship and that’s what we’re gunning for.”