An early-season league win for the Boys' Latin lacrosse team normally doesn't call for the student section to rush onto the field to celebrate.
But Saturday afternoon's victory against Loyola, the defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champion, was an exception.
Possessing the ball for most of the second half, the No. 1 Lakers wore down the No. 4 Dons to break open a close game and claim an 11-8 win. On a picture-perfect day before an overflow crowd of more than 1,000 at Hargaden Field, Boys' Latin got two goals and three assists from Shack Stanwick, three goals from Colin Chell, strong work from Hunter Moreland on faceoffs and seven saves from goalie Jack Pezzula.
And while the win doesn't change the outcome of last season's championship game — Loyola 10, Boys' Latin 9 — it does provide an extra-good feeling for the Lakers and keeps them undefeated at 9-0 overall and 3-0 in the MIAA this season.
"Last year is still lingering a bit and we'd be lying if we said it wasn't lingering. We didn't really talk about it too much, but the kids were really ready to play today. We did some really great stuff hustling," Boys' Latin coach Bob Shriver said.
Neither team had more than a one-goal lead with the game tied five times when Loyola took a 6-5 lead on defenseman Mike Meurer's short-handed goal with 5:37 left in the third quarter. The Lakers took over from there.
Chell tied the game less than a minute later and Austin Brown and Stanwick added goals to give the visitors an 8-6 lead going into the fourth quarter. After Loyola's Peyton Bozel scored a man-advantage goal with 9:42 left to make it 8-7, the Lakers won faceoffs and stayed patient and persistent on attack to get consecutive goals from Tally Bruno, Riley Peters and Stanwick to put the game out of reach at 11-7 before Loyola's Brian Smith scored in the final minute to close out the scoring.
"We really respect Loyola. They always do it right. They always come in with a good team, and they're always tough to beat. We just had to be prepared and remember what happened to us last year. So we came in here with that mindset and it helped us get the win," Stanwick said.
Meurer finished with two goals, and Smith and Ryan Conrad both finished with one goal and one assist for the Dons, who fall to 5-5 overall and 1-2 in league play.
"We just played a lot of defense today," Loyola coach Jack Crawford said. "For a variety of reasons, we weren't on offense enough and against a team like Boys' Latin, if you allow them to control the possession and dictate the tempo of play, you're gong to have a tough time winning the game. And I thought, overall, that was the difference of the game."