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Danny Bullis

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Danny Bullis stops in his tracks to maneuver around an opponent and go to goal for Mount Sinai. File photo by Bill Landon

After playing his freshman year at St. Anthony’s, Danny Bullis transferred back to Mount Sinai, and he and his team couldn’t be happier with his decision.

Harold Drumm, the Mount Sinai boys’ lacrosse head coach, first saw the now college-bound attackman when he was in sixth grade, playing on a club team.

“We knew he was going to be a special player,” he said. “He was really good and you could see it even at that age. He just really understood the game and we were excited for him to come on up.”

Drumm would have pulled Bullis up to the varsity level when he was a freshman, but the attack decided to try out St. Anthony’s and upon transferring back to Mount Sinai his sophomore year, made the varsity team.

“He was the quarterback of the offense for the last three years,” Drumm said. “This year he really came into his own and became the talented and determined player that we knew he could become.”

The team went 8-8 his first year on the team, where Bullis scored 21 goals and added 27 assists. In his junior year, the Mustangs went 9-6 and the attack tallied 22 goals and 39 assists.

“We haven’t really had a player like Danny since I’ve been the head coach here,” Drumm said. “We had a couple of really good players in the past when you needed a goal or an assist or were waiting for something to happen, but we never had a player of his caliber to give the ball and to create something.”

Danny Bullis celebrates the Suffolk County win with his Mount Sinai teammates. File photo by Bill Landon
Danny Bullis celebrates the Suffolk County win with his Mount Sinai teammates. File photo by Bill Landon

Bullis excelled his senior year, exceeding his sophomore and junior marks by scoring 45 goals and 37 assists.

His second-to-last goal of this past
season was the most important one of his career.

With 3:41 left in the Suffolk County Class B title game, in front of a large crowd at Stony Brook University’s LaValle Stadium, Bullis scored the game-winning goal to help the Mustangs edge out Sayville, 8-7.

“I can’t even describe the feeling.” Bullis said of scoring the final goal of the game. “It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.”

Bullis scored two goals and added two assists in the Mustangs’ first county-title win in years.

“He was definitely very dedicated and worked hard,” Drumm said of Bullis. “He had the lacrosse ability and he worked real hard in the weight room this last off-season, got a lot stronger, and that made a big difference for him his senior year. I wish I had a Danny ever year.”

The attack is now St. Joseph’s University-bound, and Taylor Wray, the men’s head coach, is thrilled to welcome his new player to the team.

“He’s a huge addition to our team,” the head coach said. “He’s got a terrific skill set, he has an old-school attackman — two-handed, great vision, speed, he’s a feed first kind of player, and he can do a little bit of everything. He can turn the corner and score, shoot the ball pretty well from the outside and he’s a very well-rounded player.”

Wray is hoping that Bullis can compete for time right away and said he believes he has all the tools to do so.

“We are expecting big things from him over the course of his career,” he said. “From a program standpoint, to have a player of Danny’s caliber and skill set on attack, and to have a character guy who puts the team first, is something that gives you a major piece to work with for many years.”

Although initially a baseball player, it seems that switching to lacrosse was another move in the right direction for Bullis, who was unanimously voted an All-American and the Attackman of the Year for Division II.

“It’s one of my greatest accomplishments,” Bullis said of the All-American nod. “Not as great as the county title, though,” he added, laughing.

According to Drumm, St. Joseph’s is a budding lacrosse program that he thinks is a perfect fit for Bullis. For the player’s mother, Janine, she’s just excited to see how far her son has come in the sport.

“The older he got the more he practiced and the more he strived to become the player that he is,” she said. “I’m so proud of how far he’s come. It’s something that I never expected. I don’t even have the words to describe how exciting it is as a parent to watch the progress of not only Danny, but the entire team.”

Bullis said he plans to take a lot of what Drumm taught him with him to college, and he’s hoping it will make him successful at the next level.

“Coach Drumm is one of my favorite coaches,” he said. “Training with him throughout the last few years has made me not only a lot better of a player, but a better person. He taught me hard work will outwork talent when talent’s not working hard, and I’m never going to give up.”

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The Mount Sinai boy’s lacrosse team embraces one another in celebration of the Mustangs’ first-round playoff win over Islip, 6-4, on May 18. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The bond between seniors Danny Bullis and Dan Keenan spans nearly eight years, and the connection between the attackmen was evident on the field Monday as the two connected for half of the No. 3-ranked Mount Sinai boys’ lacrosse team’s goals in a 6-4 victory over No. 6 Islip in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs Monday.

Mount Sinai’s Griffin McGrath scoops up the ground ball off the faceoff in the Mustangs’ 6-4 win over Islip on May 18, in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mount Sinai’s Griffin McGrath scoops up the ground ball off the faceoff in the Mustangs’ 6-4 win over Islip on May 18, in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We practice together all of the time … and there’s a good connection there,” Bullis said. “I always know where he is on the field so I tend to feed the ball to him.”

With the game tied 1-1 to the start of the second quarter, the team’s leading scorers connected for their first goal of the evening.

Less than two minutes in, sophomore Nick Cesario scooped up a turnover in the Mustangs’ zone and carried it all the way down the field before passing it to Bullis. Milliseconds after receiving the pass, Bullis dished the ball outside to the left of the goal to Keenan, who whipped it in past the goalkeeper to break the tie.

Senior Tony DiMonti scored next from 30 yards out off an assist from senior Jason Vengilio, and senior goalkeeper Charlie Faughnan made two big stops — one while the team was a man down — to preserve the 3-1 advantage heading into the halftime break.

“Playoffs are playoffs and every game is going to be a battle,” Mount Sinai head coach Harold Drumm said. “Islip is an excellent team, and we’re just really proud of the kids. They worked really hard.”

Mount Sinai’s Charlie Faughnan deflects the ball away from the net in the Mustangs’ 6-4 win over Islip on May 18, in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mount Sinai’s Charlie Faughnan deflects the ball away from the net in the Mustangs’ 6-4 win over Islip on May 18, in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Bullis tallied the first goal of the third stanza off an assist by junior Griffin McGrath, and after Islip scored the next goal of the game to cut the lead in half, Keenan found the back of the net off another pass from Bullis to give Mount Sinai a 5-2 lead.

Islip refused to go down quietly and kept pushing for a goal. The team got an open look at the net, but couldn’t capitalize and made one final attempt with nine seconds left in the quarter, but Faughnan came through with another save.

“Charlie’s been playing outstanding,” Drumm said of his goalkeeper, who finished the game with seven saves. “Charlie saves us and bails us out a lot. Our defense does a great job, but Charlie is the backbone of that and he makes some saves that I just have to thank him after the game for.”

Islip squeezed a goal past Faughnan with 8:55 left to play, and just over a minute later, Bullis and Keenan connected for a final time, for Kennan’s hat trick goal.

“Dan Keenan, when he shoots overhand, he has one of the best shots in the league, without question, and Danny Bullis is an excellent lacrosse player,” Drumm said. “[Bullis] can feed, shoot, dodge, he does a great job. He looks for anybody that’s open. They work in practice together all the time and they work well together, so it’s a nice matchup.”

Mount Sinai’s Danny Bullis shoots the ball over an Islip player for a goal in the Mustangs’ 6-4 win over Islip on May 18, in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Mount Sinai’s Danny Bullis shoots the ball over an Islip player for a goal in the Mustangs’ 6-4 win over Islip on May 18, in the first round of the Division I Class A playoffs. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Islip scored once more two minutes later and threatened late in the game, but Mount Sinai’s defense shut down any Islip opportunities and the offense continued to pass the ball around the outside to eat some time off the clock and preserve the win.

“It was a good team win,” Bullis said. “Our defense was really solid, and goalkeeping, and offensively we moved the ball well. [In the second quarter] we just started making better choices on offense like possessing the ball; moving the ball, and it just started to click.”

Mount Sinai extended an 11-game win streak into the postseason, and will have another home game Thursday, where the team will host No. 7 Eastport-South Manor at 4 p.m.

“We had an excellent regular-season for us and we’re real proud of the guys, but none of that really matters at this point,” Drumm said. “What matter is now and we won the game today and moving into [today] we play Eastport-South Manor … and we’re prepared. We’ll go into that game knowing it’s going to be a game liked this — a battle — and just try to win every play and hopefully come out with a ‘W.’”

This version corrects the spelling of Tony DiMonti’s name.