Perfection — once again — is one game away for the No. 1 Boys' Latin lacrosse team.
The Lakers started fast in Tuesday's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinal against No. 3 McDonogh. And then, every time the Eagles came with a push, they had resourceful responses in coming away with a 16-10 win at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
The win puts the Lakers at 17-0 on the season and in a familiar position: One win away from a perfect season and the MIAA crown.
After taking a 19-0 record into last season's title game, they were stunned by sixth-seeded Loyola, who came from behind to claim a 10-9 win.
On Friday, Boys' Latin gets another chance as it takes on St. Paul's, who beat Gilman 9-8, at 8 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
In getting there, the Lakers got another dominating performance from faceoff specialist Hunter Moreland, who won 23 of 30 faceoffs. Shack Stanwick scored four goals and added an assist; Patrick Spencer scored twice and assisted on three others; and goalie Jack Pezzulla made timely stops to finish with 10 saves.
Grinding through another demanding regular season schedule without a loss and staying on course in the semifinals, the Lakers are now primed to set out what they planned since Day 1.
"We were left with a sour taste in our mouths last year and it's fueled our fire all year," Moreland said. "To finally get a chance to get back [to the title game], it's something we've worked so hard for, so we're excited."
Moreland won the game's first four faceoffs and four different Lakers scored goals to give them a 4-0 advantage,. It was too much for the Eagles (15-5) to overcome although they didn't make it easy for the Lakers. After Tally Bruno (three goals) gave Boys' Latin a 10-4 lead early in the third quarter, McDonogh pulled within three goals on three occasions. The Lakers were always fast to answer on attack and defense with Pezzulla making saves to help stop any of McDonogh's momentum.
The Lakers got goals from 10 different players. It was something coach Bob Shriver was pleased to see.
"It's a team game and it's always has been," he said. "Look at all our players we count on to do good things and they all showed up today -- I'm really excited for them. They've had wonderful careers, they're great kids and they get an opportunity to play one more game so that's pretty cool."
Boys' Latin will be seeking its first MIAA championship since 2006. That team was the last in the league to complete an undefeated season.
The Eagles got two goals and assist from Robert Clark and Bobby Austin, while Trey McGee and Jackson Morrill each scored twice. Goalie Jacob Stover finished with 10 saves.
MIAA A semifinals
1 Boys' Latin 16, 3McDonogh 10
Goals: M – Morrill 2, Austin 2, McGee 2, Clark 2, Grey, Valis;
BL – Stanwick 4, Spencer 2, Moyer, Gesualdi, O'Connor 2, Chell, Wyler, Bruno 3, Brown.
Assists: M – Austin, Black, Senft, Young, Clark, Valis;
BL -- Moyer, Stanwick, Shewell 2, Spencer 3, Chell,
Saves: M – Stover 10;
BL – Pezzulla 10
Half: BL, 9-4