Princeton, Yale, Hopkins, Harvard. Those are just some of the schools where players from last year's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champion McDonogh Eagles are now playing as freshmen.
Losing 17 seniors to graduation is a scenario that would leave most area teams struggling to stay competitive. As the Eagles showed again yesterday against host Dulaney, however, there's still plenty left in the tank.
Midfielder Walid Hajj and attackman Jed Prossner each scored three goals, and junior Andrew Bond won 14 of 20 face-offs as No. 7 McDonogh held off the game Lions, 10-8.
Following a tough two-goal loss to top-ranked Gilman Friday, it was just the confidence-builder the Eagles needed.
"After losing that game, we needed to come out the next day, and come hard," said Hajj.
That's just what McDonogh (6-2) did, getting a goal by Mason Goodhand and two by Hajj to jump out to a 3-0 lead after the first 2: 02. The Eagles would never surrender the lead, as Bond, who was used minimally last season, consistently won face-offs to keep the ball out of Dulaney's hands.
"You could see why we lost -- we just couldn't get any face-offs," said Dulaney coach Gary Schreiber, who also fields a young team, using five freshmen. "We couldn't get possession, and I think that was the biggest factor."
That's not to say the Lions (4-1) didn't put up a fight.
Paced by Midfielders Michael Obringer (four goals) and Mark McLewee (two goals, two assists), they rebounded from their poor start to pull within a goal on three occasions.
Each time, however, McDonogh responded with a goal of its own, including two crucial scores by Prossner.
After Dulaney made it 7-6 midway through the third quarter, Prossner answered two minutes later with a goal off a feed from Hajj.
The lions again cut the lead to one, 9-8 on Jon Spivey's effort with 4: 09 left, and seemed to be poised to take over before Prossner quashed the momentum with a goal off a feed from Pat Shek, extending the lead to 10-8 with 2: 13 left.
"You've got to give Dulaney credit. We jumped out on them right away, and this could've been over quickly, but they fought back," said Eagles coach Jake Reed, whose team has never lost to the Lions. "I've been playing Dulaney for a few years now, and this is probably the best team they've had. They don't have the stars, but they're playing smart and playing hard."
Said Hajj: "Our heads weren't in the game at the end. I guess we were a little tired from [Friday's] game. We were very tired mentally."
Schreiber said he was pleased with Dulaney's effort, especially after getting "totally outplayed" in the first quarter.
Eight games into the season, Reed said he's been "pleasantly surprised" at the results.
"I think we're getting there, but I still think we're searching for our identity," he said. "We really haven't really put four good quarters together yet. To play in our league, that's what you have to do."