For the McDonogh boys lacrosse team, Friday's game at Loyola was starting to resemble its loss against Boys' Latin earlier in the week.
Once again, the No. 5 Eagles played a fine first half only to see the opposition take the lead in the second half.
But this time, McDonogh made sure it had the final say.
With a strong collective effort on defense and momentum-changing goals late, the Eagles came away with an 8-6 win over the No. 4 Dons in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play.
Junior Trey McGee finished with one goal and three assists, and sophomore Connor Young scored three goals as McDonogh (7-3) evened its MIAA record at 1-1. The Dons, who opened A Conference play with a 10-6 loss at St. Mary's, fell to 7-4 and 0-2 in the league.
After fading in a 15-10 loss at No. 1 Boys' Latin on Tuesday, the Eagles saw Loyola score the first two goals of Friday's second half, giving the Dons their first lead at 4-3.
McDonogh's response was to score the game's next five goals.
"It's always hard to win at Loyola, and it was just a gutty win for our guys," McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said. "It would have been easy to still be not recovered fully from the Boys' Latin [loss] and I'm just really proud of my guys."
Less than two minutes after the Dons took their first lead, McGee answered for the Eagles. They took the lead for good when Brinton Valis (two goals) ripped a shot from the left side for a 5-4 advantage with 1:27 to play in the third quarter.
With the lead at 6-4 midway through the fourth quarter, the Eagles got a key check from defenseman Eric Levin to kill the final seconds of a man-advantage opportunity for Loyola. McDonogh went on to score on the possession when McGee found Connor Young with a nifty pass in front with 7:01 to play.
"That was huge," McGee said. "That's a killer. It happened to us against BL when they killed our penalty and then came right back down and scored. It's just a killer for the other team."
The Dons, who got two goals and one assist from Tim Nordbrook and nine saves from goalie Acie Newton, saw a late rally fall short. They got goals from Alex Roesner and Nordbrook to cut the lead to 8-6 with two minutes left, but McDonogh had most of the possession the rest of the way.
McDonogh goalie Nick Doyle made seven saves, and midfielder Hil Blaze was strong on faceoffs.
No. 5 McDonogh 8, No. 4 Loyola 6
Goals: M — Young 3, Valis 2, McGee, Austin, Black, ;
L — Nordbrook 2, McNamara, Conrad, Jackson, Roesner.
Assists: M — McGee 3, Frederick;
L — Nordbrook, Conrad, O'Toole.
Saves: M – Doyle 7;
L — Newton 9.
Half: M, 3-2