McDonogh’s second half assault buries Calvert Hall, remain perfect in MIAA A lax; Horrigan scores six goals (VIDEO HERE!)
by Nelson Coffin
As talented as McDonogh School’s lacrosse team is, winning most often requires more than just accurate shooting, stifling defense and success at the face-off ‘X.’
To be sure, the unbeaten Eagles have all of that — and more — going for them this season.
Friday night, in a 16-10 triumph over Calvert Hall College in an MIAA A Conference battle at John McDonogh Stadium in Owings Mills, their ability to execute fundamentals was also on display in a big way.
Although McDonogh’s advantage in winning ground balls, 32-13, might not have been quite what the home scorebook showed, gaining more possessions was certainly a determining factor in the outcome.
Both coaches agreed.
“Groundballs,” was Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly’s succinct assessment of the difference in the game.
“Although our effort was good, we just couldn’t pick the ball up off the ground. They annihilated us on the ground,” continued Kelly. “They have a lot of big, strong athletes, and I think they out-toughed us a little bit.”
McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner conceded that getting the upper hand in a pivotal third quarter had a lot to do with the “effort plays” his team made in outscoring the Cardinals, 6-1, in the period and 11-5 in the second half.
“Groundballs were huge for us,” he added.
There were those other factors for the Eagles (6-0 overall and MIAA A), ranked No. 5 nationally by Inside Lacrosse. Senior attackman Jack Horrigan’s six-goal performance and some nifty goaltending by Anthony Wilson (13 saves) helped blunt a Calvert Hall rally after it had cut the lead to 13-10 and held a man-advantage midway through the final period.
Wilson praised his defense, spearheaded by seniors Scott Hilgartner, Malachi Jones, juniors Jonny Cool and Aiden Hurdle and sophomore AJ Marsh, for making his job easier.
Even so, he had to turn away a couple of good looks the Cardinals’ extra-man opportunities worked so hard to get.
“That was a big time in the game,” said Wilson, who’s verbally committed to Villanova. “Our defense did a great job. We’re very comfortable playing man-down ‘D.’ I think we’ve only given up two man-down goals this season.”
The game began with sophomore attackman McCabe Millon starting a 4-0 McDonogh opening run when he converted a feed from freshman attackman Luke Miller.
Horrigan then stuck his first pair of goals on feeds from Miller and senior midfielder Jack Dudas, respectively, before senior midfielder Dante Trader followed suit on a solo effort to give the Eagles a four-goal advantage with just over four minutes left in the first quarter.
Calvert Hall (2-2, 2-2 MIAA A), ranking No. 8 nationally by Inside Lacrosse, fired back with four-goal salvo of its own, getting goals from junior defender Luke McAuliffe, junior midfielder EJ Vasile and two from junior midfielder JoJo Dean to tie the score early in the second stanza.
Horrigan and Dean traded goals to make it 5-5 at the half.
The third quarter belonged to McDonogh with Trader and Horrigan, twice, giving the home team an 8-5 advantage that Dean trimmed with his team-high fourth goal to 8-6.
Miller then converted a Millon helper and Dudas and junior Hugh Brown also rippled the net as the Eagles built an 11-6 cushion heading into the fourth quarter.
After Calvert Hall sophomore attackman Shuey Kelly converted a nice look on a fastbreak from senior attackman Dan Reilly, the Cardinals threatened to gain momentum until Wilson made a couple of key stops.
With two minutes left in regulation, Calvert Hall junior attackman Jordan Wray brought the visitors back to within 13-10 after the defense forced a turnover.
Despite having another chance to cut into the McDonogh lead, the Cardinals’ offense was denied again and Millon rifled in the clincher on a feed from Horrigan to make it 14-10 with just over a minute to go.
The win keeps the Eagles as the lone undefeated in the nation’s toughest high school boys lacrosse league. McDonogh has won eight straight, dating back to last season which was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic
“We were calm at halftime,” said Horrigan, who contributed an assist. “We came out with a lot of energy in the third quarter. This means a lot for our seniors to beat the multi-time champs after the way they smacked us around at their place (in 2019).”
MCDONOGH SCHOOL 16, CALVERT HALL COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL 10
Goals: Calvert Hall – Jojo Dean 4, Mic Kelly, Shuey Kelly, Jordan Wray, Ethan Long, Luke McAuliffe, EJ Vasile; McDonogh – Jack Horrigan 6, Dante Trader 3, Jack Dudas 2, Luke Miller 2, , McCabe Millon 2, Hugh Brown.
Assists: Calvert Hall – Jordan Wray 2, Wyatt Hottle, Dan Reilly; McDonogh – Luke Miller 3, McCabe Millon 2, Jack Horrigan, Jack Dudas, Dante Trader, Scotty Hilgartner.
Saves: Calvert Hall – Tommy Lubin 13; McDonogh – Anthony Wilson 13.
Calvert Hall 2 3 1 4 — 10
McDonogh 4 1 6 5 — 16