Should the McDonogh boys lacrosse team enjoy an extended run in the upcoming Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference playoffs, the Eagles will likely look back on Tuesday's performance against visiting St. Paul's as a character-building foundation.
Senior Austin Frederick was the catalyst, tying the game with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter with his sixth goal of the day. Hil Blaze won the faceoff to start overtime, and when Trey McGee found open space on the left side and buried a shot 13 seconds into the extra time, the No. 3 Eagles were celebrating a dramatic 11-10 win over the No. 2 Crusaders.
With two games remaining in the regular season, McDonogh (13-2) is 6-1 in the A Conference and improved its chances of gaining one of the two first-round playoff byes. St. Paul's, which got a four-goal performance from Carter Flaig, fell to 15-2 overall and 5-2 in league play.
The game was tied nine times, and neither team could muster more than a one-goal lead until Connor Sheehan put the Crusaders ahead 9-7 with 3:27 to play. After Brinton Valis and Frederick scored to get the Eagles even at 9, they had to rally one final time after Flaig scored a nifty behind-the-shoulder goal with 1:33 to play. Frederick answered that goal, then McGee became the overtime hero.
"Oh my gosh. We talked about it all week — how big this game was and how we needed to come out and play our best," said McGee, who was quick to credit Blaze and his big faceoff win. "Every MIAA game means the same, but when you come out and beat St. Paul's on your home field it's just unreal."
St. Paul's goalie A.J. Barretto finished with 10 saves, while his counterpart Nick Doyle made eight in McDonogh's cage.
Trailing 7-6 midway through the fourth quarter, the Crusaders scored three straight goals — Flaig providing the first two and then Sheehan scoring his second of the game for the 9-7 advantage. But the Eagles made sure it would be their day with determined play and the necessary execution in the closing minutes.
"I feel like our team this whole year has been really good at facing adversity," Frederick said. "The St. Mary's game was back and forth and we beat them in overtime. And today was a really back-and-forth game. St. Paul's would score a few goals and then we would score a few goals, so we were just lucky enough that Hil won the faceoff and Trey hit the shot."
No. 3 McDonogh 11, No. 2 St. Paul's 10 (OT)
Goals: SP – Flaig 4, Wynne 2, Sheehan 2, Louzan, Riehl;
M – Frederick 6, Valis 2, Young, Austin, McGee.
Assists: SP – Anderson 2, Witzler, Nelson;
M – Clark 3.
Saves: SP – Barretto 10 ;
M – Doyle 8.
Half: SP, 4-3