The No. 1 Boys' Latin lacrosse team has a skillful attack that puts overwhelming pressure on opponents.
So getting the attack the ball is an obvious priority for the nation's No. 1 team. And that's where junior midfielder Hunter Moreland came into play in Tuesday's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference opener against No. 5 McDonogh.
Moreland won 14 of the Lakers' 16 draws, which helped turn a sluggish first half into a sound 15-10 win over the visiting Eagles.
Senior Colin Heacock provided much of the offense with five goals, including two in the final two minutes of the first half to draw the Lakers even at 6. The Lakers used a three-goal spurt in the third quarter to pull away and then killed off McDonogh's two-minute man-advantage situation late in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Boys' Latin, which is ranked No. 1 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Top 25 poll, improved to 10-0 on the season, while McDonogh fell to 6-3.
After going through a challenging non-league schedule unscathed, Heacock was pleased to have similar success in Tuesday's league opener against the Eagles, who came ready to play but were worn down by game's end against the talented Lakers.
"It's real big," Heacock said. "The MIAA, everybody knows it's a tough league, so just getting that first win under our belts and knowing we could move forward with that is a good feeling."
The Eagles came out inspired, getting to ground balls first and beating the Lakers down the field to lead throughout much of the first half. But McDonogh's 6-4 advantage late in the second quarter quickly vanished when Heacock scored consecutive goals 1:08 apart to tie the game at the half.
After the Eagles scored the opening goal of the second half, the Lakers scored five of the next six to take charge. Shortly after the Lakers killed off a man-down situation, junior Shack Stanwick (one goal, two assists) came from behind the cage and scored to put Boys' Latin ahead for the first time at 8-7 with 5:12 to play in the third quarter. Heacock's fifth goal of the game, on a man-advantage, gave the Lakers a 12-8 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Boys' Latin coach Bob Shriver singled out Moreland's work on faceoffs as the starting point to the team's turnaround.
"The player of the game for us I think was Hunter," Shriver said. "He gave us the opportunity to get the ball. I know Colin and those guys scored a lot of goals, but we wouldn't be scoring the goals unless Hunter wasn't getting us as many possessions as he did."
For McDonogh, junior midfielder Brinton Valis had three goals and an assist, and senior midfielder Austin Frederick added two goals and an assist. The Eagles will try to rebound Friday at No. 4 Loyola.
"We knew it was going to be four quarters long against a great team," McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said. "In the third quarter, they had a three-quarter run in over 2½ minutes and that really hurt us."
The Lakers got 10 saves from senior Christian Knight, who got strong support in back from senior defenseman Mac Pons. Junior midfielder Tally Bruno scored two goals and added an assist.
No. 1 Boys' Latin 15, No. 5 McDonogh 10
Goals: M – Valis 3, Frederick 2, Blaze, Clark, Sweeney, McGee, Austin;
BL – Heacock 5, Rees 2, Stanwick, Bruno 2, Lynch, Pridemore, Shewell, O'Connor, Wyler, .
Assists: M – Frederick, Black, Valis;
BL – Moyer 2, Stanwick 2, Lynch, O'Connor, Roswell, Bruno.
Saves: M – Doyle 5; BL – Knight 10.