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No. 3 McDonogh boys lacrosse hangs with national No. 1 Culver, holds heads high after 8-7 loss

McDonogh lacrosse senior captain, Chris Smith. (Glenn Graham, Baltimore Sun video)

Completing its out-of-conference schedule against the country’s top ranked team on Thursday, the McDonogh boys lacrosse team didn’t get the win it had hoped for.

But host No. 3 McDonogh can still go into Tuesday’s Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference opener at No. 6 St. Mary’s feeling plenty good.

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McDonogh stayed goal for goal with Indiana power Culver, ranked No. 1 in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse Top 25 High School Power Rankings, throughout the game.

Down a goal in the final 30 seconds, McDonogh got three clean shots off, but each missed the mark and undefeated Culver stayed that way with an 8-7 win in Owings Mills.

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After McDonogh sophomore Dane Swanson scored his fourth goal of the game with 2:28 to play, tying the game at 7, Culver (11-0) got the game-winner from Jake Stevens with 1:02 left. Host McDonogh (4-3) pressed but couldn’t find the equalizer.

“A lot of positives,” McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said. “We showed that we can really fight in a game — I really hadn’t seen that kind of attitude out of us all preseason. We really had great spirit and great attitude from our bench to our guys out on the field. We knew every single possession was going to be critical playing against a great team like Culver. We battled.”

In its first 10 wins going into today, Culver averaged 15-plus goals while limiting opponents to 4.3.

McDonogh wasn’t fazed, taking a 2-0 lead and going into the halftime break tied at 4.

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Severn’s boys lacrosse team will head into MIAA A Conference play with plenty of momentum.

Culver didn’t take its first lead until early in the third quarter and when it went up 7-5 midway through the fourth quarter, McDonogh stayed calm in getting the game tied with two goals from Swanson.

McDonogh senior captain and All-Metro defenseman Chris Smith didn’t take the loss well, but left the field highly encouraged going into Tuesday’s league opener.

“I liked our effort throughout the game,” he said. “I liked the toughness that we showed — it just showed that we’re capable of anything this year and we just got to put the pieces together.”

Culver was playing its fifth road game in seven days on the East Coast, including a 12-4 win at No. 8 St. Paul’s on Monday.

Goals: C—Robinson; Simmons 2, English, Hiltz 2, Clayton. M—Hilgartner, Hurdle, Swanson 4, Ward, Assists: C—Hiltz. M — Sweeney, Ward, Catlett, Hilgartner, Powderly. Saves: C—Giantfocaro 4; M—Long 6. Half: 4-4

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