The McDonogh boys lacrosse team enjoyed its finest opening quarter of the season Tuesday with plenty to be gained against visiting Loyola Blakefield. The No. 1 Eagles won five of six faceoffs, they took 15 shots and junior goalie Evan Long was sensational with six stops in the 12 minutes.
The strong play resulted in five unanswered goals — junior attackman Liam Powderly contributing two goals and two assists in the stretch — and it set a positive tone that stayed as McDonogh claimed a 12-7 win over the No. 2 Dons on senior day.
The Eagles (11-4) moved into first place in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference with a 7-1 record. The Dons (13-4) fell to second place at 7-2 in league play.
Powderly finished with two goals and four assists, senior midfielder Jack Simmons had two goals and an assist, and Long finished with nine saves in the win.
‘We talked about focusing on our teammates and who we play for and then the guys came out and really executed. So they played with a lot of spirit, and then they executed really well,” McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said.
The teams came into the game with extended winning streaks in league play — the Eagles winners of six straight and the Dons having won seven in a row.
With sophomore Gable Braun (one goal, one assist) dominating at the faceoff X, the Eagles had the ball plenty in the first half, and their Powderly-led attack proved efficient.
Powderly opened the scoring in the first minute, assisted on goals by Jack Sweeney and Braun, and scored again to give the Eagles a 4-0 lead with 3:34 left in the first quarter.
Long made sure the momentum would stay on the home team’s side with his fine play in the cage. Loyola sophomore midfielder Jack Koras (three goals) finally got the Dons on the scoreboard with 6:46 left in the second quarter to make it 5-1, but the Eagles responded with goals from George Ward and Simmons in taking an 8-2 halftime lead that was never threatened.
Senior midfielder BJ Farrare, who had a goal and an assist while dominating in the middle of the field, was pleased with the team’s effort, but the Eagles' attention turns to Friday’s game against No. 13 Mount Saint Joseph.
“I would say we’re not satisfied — we still have a ton of work to do as a team and everybody knows it. But we’re on the right track and I’m proud of my guys. We’re ready to go,” he said.
The game didn’t set up well for the Dons, who enjoyed their own senior day Saturday with an 18-8 win over Mount Saint Joseph. In addition to having one less day to prepare for McDonogh because of that game, the team wasn’t able to practice Monday because school was closed for a law-enforcement investigation after threatening messages were posted on social media.
Loyola coach Ben Rubeor simply gave credit to McDonogh and expects his Dons, who played a much better second half, to bounce back. Loyola is off Friday before closing out the regular season at defending league champion Calvert Hall, ranked No. 3, on next Tuesday.
“I think anytime you come over to McDonogh and play on their grass on their senior day, it’s going to be tough,” he said. “I thought they outplayed us in just about every facet and going down 5-0, we got knocked down a little bit and we didn’t get back up today. But I think hopefully that’s a team we get another chance to see.”
Goals: LB—J.Koras 3, Bateman, Hume, Keeney, Breschi; M—Ward 2, Beattie 2, Sweeney 2, Simmons 2, Powderly 2, Farrare, Braun. Assists: LB—Hume, Reid, Delanois; M—Powderly 4, Farrare, Hilgartner, Walsh, Braun, Simmons. Saves: LB — Lorber 5; M — Long 9. Half: M, 8-2