POTOMAC – The Bullis School boys’ lacrosse team showed why it is a nationally ranked program. The Bulldogs erased an early 2-0 deficit and reeled off 13 unanswered goals on its way to a 13-3 conference home win over St. Albans School (Washington, D.C.) on April 26.
Midfielder Jonathan Bender led the way with three goals and an assist to help the Bulldogs notch their eighth consecutive win and remain undefeated in the Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC) at 4-0.
Two-and-a-half minutes into the first quarter, St. Albans was already up 2-0 off goals from midfielder Kyle Davies and attacker William O’Brien and looked to be in control. For the remainder of the quarter, Bullis attackers continued to misfire, but Bender scored on an assist from Robert Schain to make it 2-1 at the end of the first.
It was the second quarter when the Bulls (17-2, 4-0 IAC) began to find their offensive stride, beginning with an early goal by Gus Weiner to tie the game. Weiner’s goals were followed by two straight goals from Connor Davis on feeds from Schain and Bryson Shaw. About midway through the second, Bender whipped a back-handed shot into the net to put Bullis up 5-2.
Throughout the second quarter and into the second half, Bullis put a little more pressure on St. Albans’ ball carriers, consequently forcing them to make costly mistakes, according to Bullis Head Coach Jeff Bellistri.
The Bulldogs wound up tallying seven unanswered goals to enter halftime with a 7-2 advantage, and from there, the momentum continued on both ends of the field.
Bullis edged St. Albans in the face-off battle, 10-8, and totaled 37 shots on the evening to St. Albans’ 26. To conclude the third quarter, sophomore midfielder Mac Rietano launched a long shot from the opposite end of the field, which bounced into the back of the net as time expired, leaving the crowd in awe.
Schain opened the fourth with a goal off a pass from Bender. A few possessions later, Davis stormed his way through the defense to score his third goal on the evening, and Spencer Hughes added a goal late in the fourth to make the score 13-2.
“I think we started off kind of slow and the more we were able to pick it up after the first quarter, we were able to talk in the huddle and come up with a good play,” said Bender, a senior. “We just had to get really riled up on defense. We just wanted to have all the energy, and whenever we got the ball, we were electric and were just getting really pumped up and just wanted to keep all the confidence on our side.”
Bellistri held Bender, a Towson commit, in high regard during his postgame comments.
“Jonathan Bender is a great player. He has a dimension — his quickness and his shooting ability; he’s a great talent,” Bellistri said of Bender. “We enjoy what he gives us. We got a lot of offensive players, and it’s so balanced. It’s tough to defend who you’re going to try to stop, and we’re just glad for Jonathan and the whole offensive unit.”
St. Albans Coach Rory Hyland said he was happy with his team’s effort in spite of the loss.
“We knew that we were pretty big underdogs going in. We felt like knowing that, we had nothing to lose,” Hyland said. “(Bullis) were favored, so we felt like the pressure was a little more on them, and we kind (of) looked at it as a chance to have a big upset, but we’re not upset about it. We’re disappointed in the result, but we knew that they were a very good team and that we could lose to them.”
Hyland said St. Albans didn’t “look at this game as a measure of our skill or a test of our confidence,” as his squad hopes to bounce back against St. Andrew’s Episcopal on April 30. The third-year head coach also acknowledged Bullis’s depth and said that fatigue might have played a factor in the loss.
“I think they have a little more depth than we do. I think that our first 10 are pretty good, but they have probably 30 guys that can run the whole day, so after a while, we probably got a little bit tired,” he said. “I never felt like they wanted it more than we did, I just feel like they outplayed us today.”
St. Albans falls to 9-6 with the loss. Goalie Will Kiernan had 11 saves, while Bullis goalie Jack Fracyon finished with 10 saves. Caulley Bellistri relieved Fracyon late in the fourth and had four saves.
Next, Bullis will host one of its toughest opponents, Georgetown Preparatory School, which is also undefeated in IAC play. The two will square off in the regular season finale on April 30 at 6 p.m.