The McDonogh boys lacrosse team visited Calvert Hall in dire need of its first win in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play this season.
The defending league champions showed no sympathy.
The No. 1 Cardinals kept rolling, getting a big contribution from Tyler Dunn at faceoffs and displaying a balanced attack with four man-advantage goals to claim a 15-11 win over No. 3 Eagles.
Calvert Hall improves to 8-1 overall and 3-0 in the MIAA A, while McDonogh drops its third straight league game to fall to 6-3 and 0-3.
Junior Daniel Kelly (four goals, one assist) scored three goals in the final three minutes of the third quarter to provide the Cardinals with an 11-6 advantage. Connor Mitchell (two goals, two assists), Jack Sawyer (two goals, two assists), Grant Mitchell (two goals, one assist) and Truitt Sunderland (two goals, one assist) led the Cardinals’ powerful attack.
“They’re a great team, a well-coached team, and they battled and came back at the end,” Calvert Hall’s Daniel Kelly said. “But it feels good to get the win for our team. We’re just working hard every day and it feels good to come out on top.”
With a 3-2 lead after one quarter, the Cardinals first took hold of the game and it started on faceoffs with Dunn and Chris Cottone combining to win seven of eight draws in the second quarter.
The home team’s attack was precise with the ball, getting goals from Connor Mitchell, Grant Mitchell and Sunderland in a 45-second span that provided a 6-2 lead with 10:17 left in the half. After the Eagles answered with consecutive goals – Riley Mitchell scoring off a feed from Matt Hilgartner to cut the lead to 6-4 with 6:45 left in the half – the Cardinals once again took the offensive. Grant Mitchell scored from far out to make it 7-4 before Sawyer took a feed from Connor Mitchell to make it 8-4 with the goal coming with 1:08 before the intermission.
After McDonogh closed the gap to 8-6 late in the third, Kelly quickly took it back for the home team with three straight goals – two with an extra man -- in the final 2:46 to make it 11-6.
“I didn’t really do much – I had three dunks and a lot of credit goes to Jack Sawyer, Grant Mitchell and Truitt Sunderland – those guys find me a lot on the back pipe a lot and I just got to put it away,” Kelly said.
Having gone undefeated in its nonconference schedule – closing with a confidence-building 12-11 win over Indiana-power Culver Academy to take a 6-0 mark into MIAA play – McDonogh was playing better than any team going into conference play.
But the league’s parity showed up immediately with losses to St. Paul’s and Loyola Blakefield, putting the Eagles in a difficult hole.
It’s a challenge coach Andy Hilgartner believes his Eagles are up for as they try to rebound on Tuesday at home against Boys’ Latin. Dane Swanson led the Eagles with four goals, while Scott Cole added three. They showed no quit, scoring the last four goals in the final four minutes before running out of clock.
“Against a great team like Calvert Hall you just can’t make that many mistakes. We put ourselves in the hole many times tonight – two men down multiple times and it’s hard enough playing them six on six,” said Hilgartner. “But I’m very proud of my team – as always – and I remain very encouraged. Knowing the character we have on our team I’m not discouraged in theleast bit regardless of our record. The foundation of the team is strong and I know it’s going to carry us throughout the season.”
Goals: M – Powderly, Cole 3, Swanson 4, R. Mitchell, Beattie 2; CH – Sawyer 2, C. Mitchell 2, Long 2, G. Mitchell 2, D. Kelly 4, Sunderland 2, Herbert. Assists: M – Hilgartner 2, Cole, Lamberti ; CH – C. Mitchell 2, D. Kelly , Sawyer 2, Sunderland, G. Mitchell.