Since taking over McDonogh Scool varsity lacrosse coaching duties from Booker Corrigan in 2009, Calvert Hall College alumnus Andy Hilgartner has done very well against his alma mater in the ultra competitive Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
Coming into Friday night’s tussle at Paul Angelo Russo Stadium in Towson, Hilgartner had guided the No. 1 Eagles to an 8-2 record — including five straight wins — against the Cardinals.
Those stellar past performances didn’t seem to matter to Calvert Hall this time, as the third-ranked Cardinals built a 9-2 lead and held off the Eagles, 11-9, for their first triumph over the defending A Conference champs since 2011.
Two Calvert Hall players who are relatively new to the league, freshman attackman Daniel Kelly and junior goalie Liam Darragh, keyed the win. Kelly, one of two sons of Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly who contributed to the Cardinals’ cause, scored five goals and had an assist while Darragh recorded 13 saves against McDonogh’s high-powered offense.
The Eagles struck first on a lefty liner by junior midfielder Jack Simmons before Calvert Hall (8-2 overall, 2-0 MIAA A) responded in a big way with goals by senior attackman JT Bugliosi and senior midfielder Brendan Curry and two by Jacob Kelly for a 4-1 advantage late in the opening quarter. Sophomore attackman Liam Powderly got one back for the Eagles (9-2, 1-1 MIAA A) on an unsettled situation after Darragh made a nice save before the rebound skidded away from him.
However, the Cardinals restored the three-goal cushion when sophomore midfielder Jack Sawyer converted a feed from Bugliosi with one second left in the period.
Daniel Kelly continued his coming-out party in the second quarter, scoring twice and threading the needle on a pass that Curry expertly handled and, in one motion, pivoted to his right to rifle the ball into the net for an 8-2 lead that would stand until halftime.
“I kind of let JT and Jacob do most of the dodging, but I find ways to get open,” Daniel Kelly said. “They (McDonogh) are a great team, and credit goes to them. But I played well today.”
Bryan Kelly said that he had a feeling it might be Daniel’s day.
“I told my wife that McDonogh would be paying a lot of attention to Jacob and JT,” he said. “So I told her that Daniel would have a big game.”
After Jacob Kelly expanded the advantage to 9-2 early in the third period, the Eagles mounted a furious comeback while Calvert Hall was whistled for six penalties.
However, the first three goals of the McDonogh rally, by junior attackman Jack Sweeney, Simmons and senior attackman Jack Parr, were all at even strength.
Trailing, 9-5, McDonogh, did not score — or offer a shot — with a two-man advantage early in the final quarter and Calvert Hall capitalized when Bugliosi converted a feed from Curry on a 15-yard rocket for a 10-5 lead.
The Eagles did much better on their next four EMOs, getting goals from junior midfielder Griffin Catlett, Simmons and junior attackman George Ward to make it 10-8 with just under three minutes remaining in regulation.
Instead of trying to run down the clock after the Cardinals gained a rare second-half possession, Bugliosi turned on the afterburners, roared down the left alley and stuck a sizzling shot into the upper right corner for an 11-8 cushion with 97 seconds left.
“I beat my man and I though I had my hands open, so I let it rip,” the Ohio State University commit said. “I knew Jacob (Kelly) was there to back it up if I missed.”
Thirty seconds later, Simmons’ fourth goal closed out the scoring in the hard-fought contest that snapped McDonogh’s 12-game conference winning streak.
“Calvert Hall came out with a great game-plan,” said Hilgartner, whose team is ranked No. 5 nationally by Inside Lacrosse and USA Today. “We practiced against their 10-man ride, but we didn’t handle it very well tonight. We gave up a lot of possessions and they’re great in scrambles and unsettled situations. The way they ride, you have to handle the ball cleanly, and we didn’t always do that.”
Bryan Kelly praised the defensive unit featuring Darragh, sophomore longstick PJ Peters, senior shortstick Colin Allen, junior shortstick Connor Maher, senior close defender Danile DiPeso, junior close defender George Walsh and sophomore close defender Jake Snyder for holding the Eagles under double-digits in goals for only the second time this season.
“It was a total team effort, but we won because of our defense,” Bryan Kelly said.
NO. 3 CALVERT HALL COLLEGE 11, NO. 1 MCDONOGH SCHOOL 9
McD 2 0 3 4 — 9
CHC 5 3 1 2 — 11
GOALS: McD-Jack Simmons 4, George Ward, Jack Parr, Griffin Catlett, Jack Sweeney, Liam Powderly; CHC-Daniel Kelly 5, Brendan Curry 2, JT Bugliosi 3, Jack Sawyer.
ASSISTS: McD-Jack Simmons, Jack Parr 2, Griffin Catlett, Jack Sweeney, CHC-Cole Herbert 2, Daniel Kelly, Jacob Kelly, Brendan Curry, JT Bugliosi, Omari DeBerry.
SAVES: McD-Ollie Abramson 2; CHC-Liam Darragh 13.