The McDonogh boys lacrosse team was tagged with the area's No. 1 ranking at the start of the season and the Eagles have been standing their ground in the demanding Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's A Conference.
On Tuesday, No. 3 Calvert Hall provided them with their sternest league test to date with a push into two overtimes.
Junior attackman Jack Parr came up with the needed response. Finding space on the far side, he took a feed from Jack Simmons and then whipped a shot past Calvert Hall senior goalie Joe McSorley to secure a 9-8 win for McDonogh over the visiting Cardinals.
The Eagles improve to 12-1 overall and 5-0 in league play, while the Cardinals fall to 11-3 and 3-2. It was McDonogh's third overtime win of the season, all by the same 9-8 score.
Senior attackmen Jason Sarro (three goals) and Jackson Morrill (two goals, one assist) led the Eagles with Parr's game winner his second goal of the game. The Cardinals got a brilliant 15-save performance from McSorley, but the Eagles still managed to find a way to win.
"Heck of a game, great opponent and they challenged us for 48 minutes and then some," McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said. "I was just so impressed with our guys, like every time they pushed us we answered. I think that says a lot about the character of the team and it's really encouraging moving forward, too, knowing that when we get ourselves in these tough situations — after being up 5-2 and giving up four straight goals, we answer, they go up again and we answer again — so just really proud of our guys."
The Eagles had been jumping on opponents early and controlling play throughout to go into Tuesday's game perfect in league play and it looked as if the same would hold true as they scored on their first three possession for a fast 3-0 lead.
But the Cardinals responded with four straight goals midway through the game to turn a three-goal deficit into their first lead at 6-5 when Jacob Kelly scored with 8:42 to play in the third quarter.
After Parr tied the game at 7 with 2.7 seconds left in the third quarter, the Eagles claimed an 8-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Zach Green scored his second goal for the Cardinals to tie the game with 5:06 to play. McSorley was strong throughout and McDonogh goalie Sean Lanier (six saves) also made some timely saves late to keep the game tied until midway through the second overtime.
"A key theme during our huddles is just fighting back and coming back with an answer," Parr said. "So throughout the game, we really got some quality looks through our regular offense, but the problem was they just weren't falling. So once we started shooting a little better, our offense started running smoothly and our defense really shut it down today."
No. 1 McDonogh 9, 3 Calvert Hall 8 (2 OT)
Goals: CH – Bugliosi, Kinnear, Pearce, Kelly, Curry, Green 2, DeBerry;
M – J. Sarro 3, Parr 2, Morrill 2, Simmons, Woodson.
Assists: CH – Curry, DeBerry;
M – Morrill, E. Sarro 2, McCoy, Sutley, Simmons.
Saves: CH – McSorley 15;
M – Lanier 6.
Half: M, 5-4