Since Landon Lacrosse has been a topic here for many years, several people asked, “is this the best Bear team ever?” The answer is that it is hard to compare talent between years, but what can be compared is “how well this Landon lax team played in 2017”. To that question, it is fair to say that this 21-0 roster played as a unit better than those which I have seen (including the undefeated 1992 team captained by my son). In each game of this season, the coaches taught and all of the players learned how to execute game plans better and better. This last win ranks as the #1 team performance. This team’s and coaches’ relationship demonstrated the value teacher/mentor/coach principle; the games were tests based on the lessons learned in practice.

To summarize the numbers, the 2017 team beat

  • IL #7 (2x),
  • #10 (West #1),
  • #12 (NE#4),
  • SE #7,
  • top teams from

o  VA (6A),

o  TN,

o  2 MD (MD 43 West-1 &MD 32 East-2)


o  NC(05)


  • 7 of the WaPo Top 10 (as well as other teams which previously were in the Top 10)
  • They beat the WCAC champion (perhaps more)
  • The Bears  scored 275 goals (average =13); the defense held opponents to 145 goals (6.9). Highest score 18; lowest allowed 4 (2x)

    ·        Opponents record (19 teams; 2 repeats) 276-109

LESSON #1-MATURITY:  the visitors scored the 1st two goals (at 9:34 and 7:34). The Bears did not panic and had confidence in the game plan. Result—three consecutive Landon goals.

LESSON #2—TEAMWORK: move the ball to the player who has the best shot. The “studies” for this work is the weekly Hudl videos in which Coach Healey illustrated the little things that matter—another step here, waiting for a cut, using a pick for maximum leverage—and here are the next results:

Goal by               Assist        Time          Notes                                    

Nate Buller          T Halm       9:16            awesome pass to a cutter on crease

Possession from super GB by Ryan Pride

on F/O

John Geppert      Zach Johnson 1:58      another exceptional pass

Joey Epstein       Garrett Kurtz    0:21.3 Joey dodge off of timed pass

LESSON #3—Depth is important—It is quite common for teams to run an offensive set of middies and another trio who only plays D. T Halm, Will Oliver and Ryan Pride, all recruited seniors, had a major role in this game. They frequently were taking the first shift in a period, working against Bullis’ regular D middies and these three Bears would continue their time on the field on the other end of the field. There was no drop-off in their functioning as O and D middies. T had two brilliant assists; Ryan came out of a Face-off scrum with 4 Bullis players whacking him; and Will used his exceptional speed to create O opportunities as well as cover the Bulldog “sophomores” (as featured in the WaPo recent article)

LESSON #3—D communications–After the initial Bulldog scores, the Bear D–Shane Corcoran (8 saves for the game), Cam James (held the UNC recruit to 1G), Andrew Fowler, Drew Wellington, Doug Chirite, Mo Sillah and others—controlled the high octane Bullis offense to only 7 goals (averaged 12 goals a game [other than Landon matches]).




LESSON #5—EXECUTE—the home team scored the next six goals. Bears at both ends of the field did their jobs. Pressure was exerted when the Bulldogs entered the Bears O zone, the speedy visitors would get a second of separation only to be greeted by a Brown jersey ready to force a turnover. As the ball moved back to the home end of the field, the offense moved the ball. While to many their play seemed random, their action was part of a complex set of plays and each has multiple options. Here are minutes 12:00 to 5:55 of the 2nd quarter:

Goal by               Assist        Time          Notes                                    

Zach                    Joey           9:58

Justin Shockey    —                9:52            FOGO to goal in 0:06

Nate                     —                8:39            sweep à separation

Nate                     Zach          7:36          well timed pass and drive

Gilbert Sentimore T Halm      6:51  great pass by T as #3 cut to crease

Nate           Garrett       5:55  as Paul Carcaterra says “there’s a reason that they call it execution”

The Bulldogs tallied goal #3 at 4:21.

LESSON #6—OUR FOGO IS BETTER THAN YOUR’S—Justin is a huge advantage and 0:02 after the Bullis goal, the Lord of FOGO Island got the ball to Will Carlson who passed it back to Justin for goal # 10 @ 4:19 (slow clock?).



Out of the time with their coaches, the visitors tallied the initial goal at 10:44.

LESSON #7 RESILIENCE AND DETERMINATION—the opposition scored a nice goal and could have easily altered the momentum. No!!! The Bears respond to challenges with an increased determination. Landon Goal #11 started with a pass from Ryan Pride to Joey—three Bullis defenders converged on #1; not to worry, the attackman drove to the hoop and beat the Bullis goalie again @9:51. LESSON #5 repeated; @9:39 Justin won the faceoff and scored (thus his position is not FOGO and is now FOSO: face-off score often).

LESSON #8 TRUST THE SYSTEM—no matter what the situation, be true to the reads and run the offense. The next goal involved synchronized cuts in the midfield and on the crease. Zach drove down one alley and saw Gilbert make a move similar to goal #8—the result was goal #13 @8:51.

The visitors got their 5th goal at 7:30.

LESSON #9 DO WORK—it was late in the game, but it was not over. Joey fed Nate to add to the lead @4:19. Justin got the ball back from X 0:04 later and fed it to Joey who rocketed a shot @6:12.

The next Bulldog tally was by the UNC recruit and his only of the game.

LESSON #10 PUSH THE BALLMo Sillah got the ball, cleared it and upon entering the box, passed it to Gilbert @ 0:07.7


LESSON #11DEVELOP PLAYERS—with a comfortable margin, Coach Bordley moved a number of younger players to get time against a major foe. At least nine of the Bear roster now know what playing in a championship game feels like. Hopefully, that time will be valuable in 2018.

The starting attack remained for the early part of the last period. Joey sped past his defender @ 10:28. The last Bear goal of 2017 was a pass from Nate to Joey @7:38.

Bullis notched its 7th goal at 6:27.




It has been said that 21-0 sets a Landon record for wins in a season. The #21 is also an iconic number in Landon lore; it was the number which George Boiardi wore. His leadership skill is the subject of a book.


Landon also took the JV IAC lacrosse title with a win over Georgetown Prep. Coach Derwinski predicts that several of his students will likely contribute in the 2018 Varsity Season.


To reiterate a point made previously, the coaches did a masterful job of bring a talented roster to an undefeated. Chronicling their success has been a great privilege.

Go Bears

Published in: on May 13, 2017 at 9:20 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sandy, your best lacrosse story ever–analytical, insightful, inspirational! Thank you for your fine coverage all season. Knight K (your great class of ’65)

  2. […] LANDON LACROSSE 18 BULLIS 7 […]

  3. Great job, Sandy. You’ve made an outstanding contribution to lacrosse and to Landon. I’m sorry the season is over as I’ll miss your blogs. All the best. Bob Norris

  4. Thanks, Knight and Bob. The pleasure is mine. The blog is merely a reflection of the Bears’ hard work, talent, competitiveness and teamwork/ shared leadership. Go Bears!!!

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