While five straight league wins to open the condensed Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference season has put the McDonogh lacrosse team atop the standings, the Eagles still felt they had something significant to prove in Friday night’s home game against Calvert Hall.
After all, the Cardinals are winners of the past three league championships, the last coming in 2019. And for a number of McDonogh seniors, the team’s loss against Calvert Hall that season never left their minds.
It may have taken two years to have a chance to make amends, but the time arrived and the Eagles were primed.
A dominant second half proved the difference Friday as Eagles scored six of the seven third quarter goals to turn a tight game into a quality 16-10 win over the Cardinals.
Jack Horrigan scored six goals and had plenty of help on attack with Dante Trader (three goals, one assist), Luke Miller (two goals, three assists) and McCabe Millon (two goals, two assists) all having big moments and goalie Anthony Wilson turning back 13 shots.
McDonogh improves to 6-0 in the MIAA, while the Cardinals fall to 2-2.
With the game tied at 5 at halftime, the Eagles dominated on ground balls, finished scoring chances and got timely saves from Wilson to win going away.
“We’ve been waiting for this game for awhile now and I think all that energy kind of transferred into this game and we were just ready,” Horrigan said.
“It’s huge. From them winning multi championships and then us kind of getting smacked at their place a couple years ago, that stuck with a lot of our seniors and we really wanted to come out here and beat them today.”
In the second half, the Eagles won the battles in the middle of the field and converted the work into goals. Trader opened the third quarter scoring 25 seconds into play for a 6-5 lead and they pulled away from there. Horrigan scored two straight to push the lead to 8-5 and after Calvert Hall’s JoJo Dean (four goals) scored to end the momentum, Miller, Jack Dudas (two goals) and Hugh Brown started another McDonogh run to push the lead to 11-6 going into the fourth quarter.
When the Cardinals cut the lead to 12-9 on Shuey Kelly’s goal with 7:34 to play, Wilson did his part in the cage to help the Eagles maintain the three-goal advantage.
He made two point-blank saves 25 seconds apart and then made another key stop with the Cardinals on an extra-man opportunity.
“It was a big time in the game, we were up by three and I think our defense played great. They kept switching things up on us and we held inside, gave me easy shots. My defense did a great job for me,” Wilson said.
Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly quickly summed up his assessment on what the difference was in the game: “Two words — ground balls.”
Outside of that, he was pleased with the team’s energy and sees the regular season as a chance to continue to build and get better in preparation for the playoffs. Jordan Wray finished with one goal and two assists, while goalie Tommy Lubin was solid with 13 goals.
“We couldn’t pick up a ground ball and they just got every ground ball and got every break. It was just one of those things,” Kelly added. “I thought our effort was good, but we just couldn’t get the ball off the ground. They just annihilated us on the ground and that was how they won.”
Both teams return to league play on Tuesday afternoon.
Calvert Hall visits Mount Saint Joseph with game time set for 4. McDonogh returns to Loyola at 4:30 to complete last Friday’s suspended game. The Eagles had a 4-0 lead late in the first quarter when play was halted due to an injury suffered by Dons defenseman Peter Laake.
Goals: CH – Dean 4, McAuliffe, Vasile, M. Kelly, Long, S. Kelly, Wray; M – Horrigan 6, Millon 2, Trader Jr. 3, Miller 2, Dudas 2, Brown Assists: CH – Hottle, Wray 2, Reilly; M – Miller 3, Trader, Millon 2, Hilgartner. Saves: CH – Lubin 13; M – Wilson 13. Half: 5-5