McDonogh overcomes slow start, No. 4 Archbishop Spalding for first MIAA A lax win of season; Hahn, Miller and Millon combined for seven points

Malachi Jones helped McDonogh School gets its first victory in MIAA A Conference lacrosse play Friday evening. The University of Virginia-bound longstick led a solid defensive effort in the closing minutes as the second-ranked Eagles held off No. 4 Archbishop Spalding in Owings Mills.

by Trevor Colgan

Special to VSN

Andy Hillgartner knew he needed to calm his team down. 

With his team in a 3-0 first quarter hole against Archbishop Spalding – and looking poor doing it – the McDonogh School lacrosse coach called timeout. The Eagles regained their composure and battled back to get arguably their biggest win to date Friday evening.

No. 2 McDonogh defeated the fourth-ranked Cavaliers, 9-7, in a MIAA A Conference contest at John W. McDonogh Stadium in Owings Mills. Junior attack McCabe Millon had two goals and an assist for the Eagles (4-3 overall), and Luke Hahn and Bogue Miller each tallied twice. 

McDonogh rebounded from the uneven start, building a four-goal advantage in the second half before holding off a late Spalding push to get its first win in league play. The Eagles (1-1 MIAA A) lost at No. 1 Boys’ Latin School Tuesday afternoon.

“We just wanted to settle the guys down,” Hillgartner said of the early timeout. “We had a lot of energy coming into the game, the guys were hyped for the game. We played maybe with a little nervous energy.”

The Eagles were down 3-1 after the first 12 minutes. They went to flip the game and the momentum just past the halfway point of the second quarter. 

Millon, the nation’s top junior according to Inside Lacrosse, found the back of the net as the Eagles killed a Spalding power play. He scored another a minute-and-a-half later.

Hugh Brown gave the Eagles their first lead of the game, 4-3, scoring on an extra-man opportunity.

“We were somewhat opportunistic on the offensive end,” Hillgartner. “Finding our spots. We got some nice looks inside.”

Spalding (5-2, 1-1 MIAA A) evened things at 4 before halftime, but McDonogh clearly had the momentum. Hahn scored in the first two minutes of the third quarter, adding another one later in the frame. Miller and Erik Pearl also scored goals in the quarter as the Eagles led 8-5.

Miller added another to start the scoring in the fourth quarter, cementing a four-goal lead for McDonogh. Spalding attempted a furious comeback, getting goals from Ryan Schrier and Michael Weisshaar. 

McDonogh’s defense stood tall in the final minutes behind senior longstick Malachi Jones.

“I just do everything I can to help my team,” said Jones, who will play for reigning Division I national champion Virginia next spring. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without everybody else. The moment’s big, I feel like I’m a leader on the team, so I got to step up.”

Weisshaar, the reigning C. Markland Kelly Award winner, finished with four goals Friday for Spalding. 

The Cavaliers, who knocked off previously undefeated and No. 8 St. Paul’s School in their 2022 MIAA A debut Tuesday at home, got off to a great start with early scores from Race Ripley (assist), Nick Gutierrez and Weisshaar.

Despite faltering in the second and third quarters, Spalding regrouped in the fourth. 

“We continued to fight and fought back,” Cavaliers coach Brian Phipps said. “Credit to them for executing their game plan very well.”

Senior goalie Anthony Wilson, a Villanova University recruit who didn’t play in Tuesday’s league opener at Boys’ Latin because of illness, stopped 11 shots Friday for the Eagles. 

Friday wasn’t necessarily a must-win for McDonogh, which overcame a 0-2 start in league play to make the MIAA A postseason in 2019. 

But the Eagles felt much better Friday evening after completing the opening week in the nation’s toughest boys lacrosse league.

“Great win over a great program,” said Hilgartner, whose team plays at No. 9 Severn School (2-0 in MIAA A) Tuesday afternoon. “Special for us, a night game, playing here for the first time in the league, but a short term memory.”

No. 2 McDonogh School 9, No. 4 Archbishop Spalding 7

Goals: Spalding – Ripley, Weisshaar 4, Gutierrez, Schrier; McDonogh – Millon 2, Miller 2, Brown, Hahn 2, Firlie, Pearl

Assists: Spalding – Ripley; McDonogh – Millon, Chase Green

Saves: Spalding – Connor McMahon 11; McDonogh – Anthony Wilson 10 

McDonogh 1 3 4 1 — 9 

Spalding  3 1 1 2 — 7