McDonogh senior goalie Nick Doyle was playing in his final lacrosse game at home Tuesday against rival Gilman with the winner receiving a prized first-round bye in the upcoming Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference playoffs.
It was pouring for much of the game and his area in front of the cage was mostly mud.
Doyle showed it was nothing he couldn't handle.
He finished with 14 saves, blanked the visitors for a pivotal 20-minute stretch that included the entire third quarter and helped lead No. 2 McDonogh to a 10-6 over the No. 3 Greyhounds in the regular season finale for both teams.
With the win, McDonogh (15-2) finishes with an 8-1 league mark to earn the second seed in the playoffs. The Eagles, who got four goals from Trey McGee and three from Austin Frederick, automatically advance to Tuesday's semifinals at Towson University. Gilman (12-3) gets the third seed and will host the sixth-seeded team Friday in the quarterfinal round. Boys' Latin defeated St. Paul's on Tuesday to complete a perfect regular season (19-0, 9-0) and earn the top seed.
Tied at 4 going into the second half, Doyle and the McDonogh defense shut the door on Gilman's attack, enabling the Eagles to build an 8-4 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
"First of all, my defense played unbelievable in front of me," Doyle said. "They weren't giving up anything. They were making Gilman take low angle shots, and I was just eating them up. Those skipper, bouncer shots are pretty hard to save, but I was seeing the ball pretty well today and was able to make some saves."
Doyle made three big saves in the opening minutes of the third quarter — the highlight stop coming on Gilman attackman Max Greene's bouncing shot with 9:26 left. McGee gave the Eagles a 5-4 lead a minute later, then Frederick made it 6-4 with 4:06 to play in the quarter.
Controlling the faceoffs behind Hil Blaze and more alert on ground balls, the Eagles extended the lead to 8-4 on goals by McGee and Brinton Valis (two goals) before Zeke Morrill scored Gilman's first goal of the second half with 7:37 left in the game.
After Gilman's Chris Walsch finished off a chance 22 seconds later to cut the lead to 8-6, the Eagles got one more big save from Doyle before Frederick scored on a man advantage to put the lead back to 9-6 with 3:50 left. McGee closed out the scoring with his fourth goal with 1:50 to play.
"I'm just blown away by the effort today. We had 36 guys on our team work phenomenal today — nine seniors — and I'm extremely proud of our team," McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said. "To go 8-1 in the MIAA is an incredible accomplishment, and we're extremely hungry to get to the playoffs. We're excited about the opportunity."
No. 2 McDonogh 10, No. 3 Gilman 6
Goals: G – Morrill 2, W. McBride 2, Walsch, DeSmit;
M – McGee 4, Frederick 3, Valis 2, Clark.
Assists: G – Walsch 2;
M – Sweeney, Black.
Saves: G – T. McBride 6;
M – Doyle 14