McDonogh senior attackman Jackson Morrill and the No. 1 Eagles weren't budging against visiting Indiana power Culver on Tuesday.
Culver would push and the home team would answer.
Morrill provided the deciding response in overtime, driving to the cage and slinging an underhand shot that beat Culver goalie Matthew Schmidt to lift the Eagles to a thrilling 9-8 win.
Morrill finished with two goals and four assists as McDonogh improved to 5-0.
"When it comes down to it, when the ball comes into your stick, make a play," said Morrill, who made plenty. "At different times through the game, it was other guys and, at the end of the game, it was my turn to make a play."
McDonogh came in ranked fourth nationally by Inside Lacrosse with Culver (2-1) right behind at No. 5. It was just the kind of game the Eagles look for as they prep for the start of Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play, set for April 12.
The home team never trailed after opening with a 3-0 advantage, but Culver never allowed much separation. After the Eagles protected a slim 8-7 advantage for close to five minutes as time dwindled down in the fourth quarter, Culver found the equalizer with 39 seconds left to play on junior midfielder Jackson Reid's fourth goal.
Culver won the faceoff to open overtime, but the McDonogh defense stood its ground to get the offense the ball with 2:56 to play in the four minutes of extra time. After the Eagles called timeout, Morrill handled the rest.
"He's a coach on the field, probably the smartest kid I've ever coached," McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said. "So I'm trying to yell 'motion' and he's saying 'I'm going to finish the game, Coach.' I trust everything with Jackson out on the field. He can run the show for us any day and that's what he did. He took over and wasn't going to be denied."
Defense dominated the first half with the Eagles going up 3-0 on a goal from Jason Sarro with 2:57 left in the half. Culver, which didn't get its first shot on goal until 2:29 remained in the first quarter, got goals in the final 2:11 to cut the deficit to 3-2 at the halftime break. The visitors tied the score at 4 late in the third quarter, but the Eagles responded with three straight goals to reclaim a 7-4 lead with 8:43 left. Culver again rallied with the Eagles up 8-6 midway through the fourth, Reid scoring both goals to send the game into overtime.
For McDonogh, Jack Parr finished with two goals and an assist, Sarro scored two goals and Noah McCoy won some key faceoffs. In the early season, the Eagles are winning and, more importantly, learning as they go.
"So far, so good — but we're still definitely a work in progress," Hilgartner said. "What's great about playing a team like that is they expose a lot of your weaknesses, so we can watch the film and learn a lot. That's what it's all about. We're getting focused on April 12,, so playing all these great out-of-conference games are really just going to help us get prepared."