Game 4 Summary
By Christopher Lawlor
WASHINGTON – Connor Shellenberger, a gifted attackman from Bullis School (Potomac, Md.), made it look effortless at times. Widely known as the bluest of blue chip players nationally, his game can only improve with time.
Right now he’s looking awfully good and so are the Bullis Bulldogs. It was the decisive third quarter that allowed Bullis a potential upset in a 12-6 victory over Episcopal School of Dallas (Texas) Monday night in the first round finale of the GEICO High School Lacrosse Nationals at Catholic University’s Cardinal Stadium.
With the Bulldogs winning the fourth of four first round games on Sunday, the semifinal pairings on Monday are cemented. In the opener, fourth-seeded Hill Academy (Ontario, Canada) meets top-seeded Culver (Ind.) Military Academy a 7 p.m. ET and Salisbury (Conn.) School plays Bullis at 9. Both games are on ESPNU.
With Bullis’ triumph, the Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC) avoided three ousters in the first round as conference brethren St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.) and Georgetown Prep (North Bethesda, Md.) bowed out earlier in the day.
Shellenberger buried all three shots for his hat trick but Robert Schain accounted for six points on two goals and four assists and sophomore Isaac Aronson added a hat trick and one helper for Bullis, which lost the faceoff battle 9 of 22 but had 20 ground balls and outshot the ESD, 27-26.
Clinging to a 5-4 lead entering the third quarter, the Bulldogs came out shooting and massaging the clock. Aronson clicked for his second of the evening as Schain and Shellenberger, and after just over five minutes it was 8-4.
Aronson tallied his hat trick at 5:11 off a blistering rising shot from the Pennsylvania-bound Schain for a 9-4 Bullis showing and junior Emmanuel Brown stretched it 10-4 with late marker.
That’s 10 unanswered goals … game over.
With 8:25 left Shellenberger flawlessly tucked away his final goal of the game giving Bullis a comfortable 12-5 lead. Jack Loftus scored with 6:49 remaining to close out the scoring for the Texans.
Bryson Shaw opened his account at 11:13 of the second quarter off a powerful shot from the right side and Bullis were up for the first time 2-1.
The lead ballooned to 4-2 when Brown fired a 20-yard laser into the upper corner with 6:36 left. In a span of 51 seconds, ESD knotted the game at 4 when Jack Loftus and Patrick Skalnak connected. Shellenberger, considered the nation’s top recruit from the Class of 2019 and headed to Virginia, entered the score sheet at 2:58 and Bullis’ 5-4 edge stood at halftime.
ESD kept the scoreline close through 24 minutes capturing 7 of 11 faceoffs with sophomore specialist Ross Chazanow grinding out possessions and four ground balls. Bullis was up 14-11 in shots on goal and 10-8 for ground balls but ESD cleared 6 of 6 to keep the Bulldogs in check. ESD goalie Prescott King had six saves in the opening half, none more important than one at the back post from close range early in the second.
For a team that jetted here early this morning following the school’s commencement ceremony, the Eagles played inspired lacrosse in the first quarter on both ends of the field. Caden Dundon gave Episcopal a 1-0 lead after 36 seconds. Isaac Aronson provided the equalizer with eight ticks left on the clock for third-seeded Bullis.
Jonah Scher (two saves) and Blake Rodgers (five) teamed for seven saves in the victory.
Dundon wound up with two goals and an assist for ESD and three ground balls and
The Eagles came to the GEICO Lacrosse Nationals looking for redemption following a loss in the Texas Division I state semifinals. ESD went 16-2 in the regular season, going 14-0 versus Texas competition and 6-0 in Division I North West District play and conclude 18-4 overall. Chazanow had six ground balls and captured 13 of 22 faceoffs.
Despite the threat of heavy rains all day, it did not intensify until the third quarter. The opening three games were played in muggy conditions with temperatures mostly in the 80s.