A Banner Day for STA Soccer as Boyle’s OT Winner Tops Landon for IAC Regular Season Championship

James Boyle ’22 outleaped his Landon defender on a beautifully served ball by Russ Khosravi ’22 and directed a header past Landon’s goalkeeper in overtime to deliver the Bulldogs the 2021 regular season IAC championship Thursday in Bethesda. It was STA’s second goal in less than 10 minutes and capped a come-from-behind win that stunned the home crowd and ignited a boisterous celebration among Bulldog players and their schoolmates that cheered them on from the sidelines. Khosravi started the dramatics with five minutes left in regulation by converting his third penalty kick in the past three games. With the Bulldogs pressing offensively in search of the tying goal, Wayne Frederick ’22 was hauled down in the penalty area at the 75-minute mark and Coach Schultz turned to his hot hand, Khosravi, who converted PKs for the game-winning goals over Georgetown Prep and Episcopal in the Dogs’ two previous games. Khosravi drilled a shot past the outstretched arms of the Landon keeper to send the game into overtime.
Landon held a two-point standings lead over STA coming into the game and would win the IAC regular season title with a tie or win. The Bulldogs needed a win to claim the title and earn the school’s first IAC banner of the 2021-2022 school year. Against that backdrop, the Bulldog players and coaches decided during the break before the first extra period that they would stay with the aggressive offensive posture they had assumed in the final 15 minutes of regulation play. After Landon broke the scoreless tie with 17 minutes left, STA was forced to deviate from its defensive game plan designed to contain the Bears’ high-powered offense. Khosravi had been tasked with marking Landon’s uber-talented Kristian Fletcher but shifted to an offensive mindset when his team fell behind. STA’s offensive desperation led to a torrent of quality services, shots that narrowly missed exposed openings in the net, and shots that Landon’s keeper denied with diving and leaping saves.
The build-up to the wild final 20 minutes was a classic championship match-up with both teams selling out defensively to block shots, clear balls from dangerous areas, and make frantic recoveries to stop fast breaks.  Landon’s Fletcher, who will likely sign with a top European League club in the next few weeks, put all of his skills on display in the first half with dazzling ball fakes, pinpoint passing, and finishing shots that barely missed the goal or forced STA’s Spencer Hall ’22 to make highlight-reel saves. STA also had several chances in the first 40 minutes but was relieved to go into the intermission with a 0-0 tie. The second half featured several near misses by both teams until the Bears broke through at 63 minutes. In addition to Khosravi marking Fletcher, the backline of Thomas Schehl ’24, Jack Sabel ’24, Amari Jack ’23, and Leo Siegel ’23 was outstanding.  The goalkeeper platoon of Spencer Hall and Scott Speaker ’23 made several huge saves, and Charlie Irwin ’24, Jack Marriott ’22, and Max Bean ’23 played strong in the mid-field. Boyle and Frederick fueled the STA offense along with Khosravi, and Tom Brady ’25 contributed off the bench with strong ball pressure.
Today’s game was originally scheduled for Friday but was moved in anticipation of heavy rains predicted for Friday. The win capped off the Bulldogs’ season-long chase of Landon and dealt the Bears their first loss in IAC play. STA finished with a league record of 7-0-3 for 24 points and Landon completed the season at 7-1-2 for 23 points. The Bulldogs own the #1 seed and homefield advantage in next week’s IAC Tournament. The Dogs have a bye in Monday’s quarterfinal round of the tournament and will host a semi-final game at 3:30pm Tuesday on Steuart Field. The tournament final is scheduled for Thursday at the highest remaining seed’s campus. The soccer program was 3 for 3 overall against Landon on Thursday as the JV team beat the Bears’ JV 2-0 to secure the #2 seed in next week’s IAC JV tournament and the JV II team beat their Bears’ counterparts 2-1 to finish their season 6-1-1.  
Located in Washington D.C.,  St. Albans School is a private, all boys day and boarding school. For more than a century, St. Albans has offered a distinctive educational experience for young men in grades 4 through 12. While our students reach exceptional academic goals and exhibit first-rate athletic and artistic achievements, as an Episcopal school we place equal emphasis upon moral and spiritual education.