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‘Gritty’ No. 2 St. Mary’s boys lacrosse stays on a roll, improves to 11-0 with 7-6 win at No. 3 McDonogh

The St. Mary’s boys lacrosse team doesn’t feature a lot of flash this season. Instead, the Saints are perfectly content to bring consistency and togetherness while having fun remains their top priority.

All of that continued at cold and windy McDonogh on Tuesday, when the No. 2 Saints came off the bus ready to play. They scored the game’s first three goals and then stayed on top throughout to claim a 7-6 win over the No. 3 Eagles in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play.

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It’s getting to the latter stages of April — the meat of the league schedule — and the Saints are 11-0 overall and 4-0 in league play after yet another statement victory.

In Tuesday’s win, junior attackman Nick Golini opened with the game’s first two goals in his three-goal performance, sophomore Teddy Androus won more than his share of important faceoffs and a collective defensive effort from senior Riley Reese, juniors Dillon Torggler and Sam Palmisano mostly kept the Eagles in check with senior goalie Zack Overend making six saves.

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“We have great vibes all around,” said Reese, a team captain. “It’s a gritty team. We just come up with gritty play, day after day. Our practice are fun. It was a rainy day [at practice] yesterday and we were playing music, jumping all around and everybody is just hyped to be around each other and we play well as a team.”

In building a 3-0 advantage after the first quarter, the Saints were opportunistic on attack and stingy on defense as the Eagles had the 80-second shot clock expire on two of their possessions.

The visitors enjoyed a three-goal cushion at the start of every quarter, taking a 7-4 lead into the fourth when Jake Adams scored with seven seconds left in the third.

St. Mary's Jake Adams (12) scores against McDonogh goalie Anthony Wilson, right, in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon. The No. 2 Saints beat the No. 3 Eagles, 7-6, to improve to 11-0.

With 10:55 left, the Saints were issued a two-minute unreleasable penalty that provided the Eagles the opportunity to cut into the three-goal deficit. High Brown scored his second goal of the game early in the man advantage situation — making it 7-5 with 10:36 to play and plenty of time to do further damage. But the Saints defense didn’t budge with Overend making a key stop on Ben Firlie’s shot just before the end of the penalty time.

When Firlie (three goals) scored with 34 seconds left to cut the lead to 7-6, the Saints had some work left to secure the win. With Androus battling McDonogh’s faceoff specialist Zach Hashayi for the game’s final possession, the ball stayed on the ground for precious seconds before Androus was able to secure it with 15 seconds left. Another resilient win was in the books for the Saints.

What has made the Saints special this season?

“Just the work we put in,” said Golini. “We’re all so close and we trust each other. The defense with Zach is playing great, we’re doing great on faceoffs, so all around, we’re doing well and just have to keep it up.”

That’s the plan with the Saints set to host St. Paul’s at 7 p.m. Friday.

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“We have 47 guys and every guy contributes one way or another in a game and that’s the most important thing — the last guy is just as important as the first guy, and they did well today,” St. Mary’s coach Victor Lilly said. “Right now, the only thing that matters is St. Paul’s on Friday night.”

For the Eagles, who fall to 7-4 and 3-2 in MIAA play, there’s work to be done as they look to bounce back on Friday night at Calvert Hall. In addition to Firlie’s strong play on attack, they got a sensational nine-save effort from goalie Anthony Wilson with strong defensive support in the second half. But the good was overshadowed by an overall disappointing performance that consisted of errant clears, turnovers and poor shot selection.

“Scoring [six] goals in an MIAA game is incredibly concerning — you’re not going to win in this league scoring [six] goals,” McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said. “Our defense is doing their job. They limited St. Mary’s to two goals in the second half, so our offense has to produce and that’s on me as a coach to get that right.”

Goals: SM — Golini 3, Chick, Souza, Hopkins, Adams; M — Firlie 3, Brown 2, Miller.

Assists: SM — Souza, Burlace; M — Millon 3.

Saves: SM — Overend 5; M — Wilson 9.

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Half: SM, 5-2


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