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Under unique circumstances Tuesday, the McDonogh boys lacrosse team made sure to pick up where it left off a couple Fridays ago at Loyola Blakefield — a step ahead of the rest in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
On April 16, the Eagles scored the first four goals against Loyola before play was suspended in the final minute of the first quarter after Dons freshman defenseman Peter Laake suffered a life-threatening injury when he was struck in the chest by a shot.
When play resumed Tuesday, McDonogh scored the first three goals to claim a 13-8 win and improve to 7-0 in league play.
Another balanced performance on attack featured McCabe Millon (three goals, four assists), Jack Horrigan (five goals) and Dante Trader Jr. (four goals) sharing much of the load, while the Eagles got strong faceoff work from Zach Hayashi and 11 saves from goalie Anthony Wilson.
After earning a big 16-10 win over Calvert Hall in a highly anticipated game Friday and then seeing an emotionally charged Dons team, the Eagles once again had the answers.
Millon found Horrigan twice and scored himself to push the lead to 7-0 early in the second quarter and it grew to 12-4 in the third quarter before the Dons made a late push.
“[The fast start] was huge just not knowing how we would come out from an emotional point of view after a tough physical win on Friday night,” McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said. “To come back out today against a really good team, getting those first couple of goals put us in the right place and probably put them on their heels a little bit.”
So far this season, the Eagles have consistently been able to win the big faceoff or ground ball, get a timely save from Wilson or score goals in bunches.
Millon set up Horrigan three times, and when the Dons scored two late third-quarter goals to cut the lead to 12-6, the sophomore attackmen found Trader, who scored with 10:32 left to restore order.
“This is by far the most talented team I’ve ever been anywhere close to,” Millon said. “I love playing with Jack Horrigan — he’s been unbelievable this year — and just being able to see him on the left side of the field trying to rip passes through to him … I couldn’t ask for anything more for an attackman. We’re just so happy with the weapons that we have and confident that going into every game we’re going to be able to produce.”
A welcome sight on the Loyola sideline was Laake, who is feeling fine after being diagnosed with commotio cordis, a disruption of the heart’s rhythm that results in cardiac arrest. After he received emergency care on the field April 16, Baltimore County medical personnel took Laake by ambulance to an area hospital, where he underwent a series of tests and was released over the weekend. Medical personnel on hand saved Laake’s life with help from a readily available automated external defibrillator (AED).
On Tuesday, the Dons (3-3) — who got two goals each from Henry Tolker and Charlie Koras in addition to three assists from TJ Gravante — showed no quit in outscoring the Eagles 6-5 in the second half.
Loyola coach Gene Ubriaco was quick to credit McDonogh’s work on ground balls and smooth play in transition that led to the Eagles’ strong attack. But with the unconventional season a constant work in progress, he was pleased with the effort he saw from his team.
“I feel better today about our group and how they competed and how they’ve came back from a tough situation and they showed a lot of resiliency,” he said. “Honestly, you win or you learn. If you lose and don’t learn, then you lose. But we learned a lot today.”
Both teams return to league play Friday, with the Dons staying at home against Archbishop Spalding for a 4 p.m. start, while McDonogh travels to St. Paul’s at 4:15.
Goals: M – Horrigan 5, Trader 4, Millon 3 Brown; LB – Tolker 2, Tucker, Koras 2, Cook 2, Burnam. Assists: M – Millon 5, Brown; LB – Gravante 3, Miller, Schoenwetter. Saves: M — Wilson 11; LB – Webb 8. Half: M, 8-2