The Bullis boys lacrosse team is primed to begin the 2017 season as the reigning IAC champions.
In 2016 the Bulldogs posted one of their best seasons in program history going, 21–2.
Though, preseason rankings (#23 in Inside Lacrosse preseason rankings) and pundits are not sure the Bulldogs are mainstays at the top of one of the toughest conferences in the country.
Is Bullis just a one-hit wonder? Will the Bulldogs fall behind the big dogs in the Interstate Athletic Conference, Landon (#6 in Inside Lacrosse preseason rankings) Georgetown Prep and St. Stephens St. Agnes?
There is no debate that Bullis will have tougher competition this season in the IAC. But I do not see them falling off too much.
Bullis has a legitimate shot at repeating as champions.
It’s not like Bullis lost everyone to graduation from the 2016 team. Yes, its tough to swallow losing guys like Nicky Petkevich (Colgate) — who compiled 86 points — and Steven Shollenberger (Maryland) on offense and Jake Simon (Brown) was huge in goal for the Bulldogs
But the talent coming back is impressive for Bullis, most notably senior attackman Alex Trippi. The engineer for the Bulldogs offense scored 56 goals and had 48 assists last season. The 104 total points was the third most in the entire state.
“We just come to practice everyday and work hard, doing all the things we can do and in our control. So it hopefully ends up how we want,” said Trippi at the PNC Invitational press luncheon on Wednesday, (the Bulldogs will play MIAA-powershouse in Loyola-Blakefield in the event on April 8 at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore, Md).
And that has been what third-year head coach Jeff Bellistri has tried to instill in his team. Focus on what the Bulldogs need to do to be better as a team and control their destiny. Bullis relishes being the underdog and being written off. They feed off of it. In 2015 the Bulldogs had a monumental win over MIAA powerhouse at home against St. Paul’s that opened peoples eyes. And then last season the Bulldogs defeated the eventual MIAA championship teams (McDonogh-champion and Boys’ Latin). Plus, defeated public state champs, Linganore.
“If hard work is a strength that is definatly our strength. We dont necessarly come out screaming and hollering at practice like we did last year,” said Trippi who named the Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year by US Lacrosse last season is heading to the University of North Carolina in the fall. “But this year we come out focused on what we are doing. Our goalie, Chris del Rosario has stepped up this year we, (he’s) a really good goalie. Our faceoff game is good. We are a hard working team.”
The other players that should have big years for Bullis are senior midfielder Michael Chiaramonte (Boston University), junior defenseman Kyle Fairbanks (Navy) and sophomore faceoff wizard Brian Wilmans (Colgate).
But the big offseason news for Bullis was stud sophomore middie Bryson Shaw transferring from Mount Saint Joseph in Baltimore. The University of Maryland commit brings a plethora of tools to the Bulldogs. Shaw is very athletic due to being a multi-sport athlete (Football). “We saw him in practice in transition drills but didnt really see it (how good Shaw was) until in a game and our first scrimmage and he gets ball down at goal line extended at the other side of the field and runs down in five seconds and he creates so many fast breaks so it is awesome to have him here” said Trippi.
Shaw was named to the Under Armour Baltimore Underclass team this past summer which he was a huge part of helping them win the underclass tounrament title.
Bullis will have a target on their backs this season thats for sure, especially after roughing up the entire IAC in 2016. But the Bulldogs arent going to lay down. When you beat teams from three of the toughest conferences (MIAA, IAC, WCAC) in the country in high school lacrosse, the Bullis boys lacrosse team has earned the right to be in the National HS Lacrosse championship picture again this season.
The Bulldogs open their season this weekend when they play Plano East (TX)