There was little reason for St. Mary’s High’s boys’ lacrosse team to review film of Tuesday’s contest against Calvert Hall College. The No. 7 Saints did a lot of re-evaluating the past several days after one of their most embrassing losses in recent years.

The Annapolis school rebounded in a huge way, knocking off host and third-ranked Loyola Blakefield, 11-8, in a MIAA A Conference contest in Towson. Senior attack Nate Lewnes scored a game-high six goals for the Saints, and Spencer Coyle and Robert Fox each added two scores.

St. Mary’s (9-5 overall, 3-3 MIAA A) ran off four unanswered goals in the opening six minutes of the final quarter, knocking Loyola out of first in the league and rejuvenating its playoff hopes. The Saints had dropped their previous three league decisions, the recent Tuesday’s 14-3 debacle at home against top-ranked Calvert Hall.

The 50-minute bus ride back to Annapolis was much different Saturday afternoon.

“We had a real long talk after that game [Tuesday] and we needed to make a decision whether we were going to do things the right way-throw it to the open guy, play team defense, communicate, clear the ball well,” said Chomo. “I’m proud of the way we played after what happened Tuesday. I think we were focused and prepared.”

“We were all little shocked,” said Lewnes of Tuesday. “We got our emotions going in practice and finally came together. We’re looking forward to playing well down the stretch.”

Loyola got a pair of scores in the final two minutes of the third, to pull even at 7 but the Saints recaptured the lead for good as Mike Bonacci came up with a ground ball in front of the goal and scooped the ball past Loyola goalie Mike Thomas. St. Mary’s later forced the Dons into a turnover and, off the break, Fox scored to make it 9-7 with under nine minutes left.

Lewnes provided more breathing room, cutting the middle to take a pass from John Kluh and fired a shot into the net. The UMBC recruit worked himself free from behind the cage for an unassisted tally, making it 11-7 with 5:31 left in regulation.

“We moved the ball well offensively a lot of better, we whipped the ball around and got the open looks,” said Lewnes. “At the end of the day, we played our hearts out.”

Devin McNamara’s extra man goal, just seconds after Lewnes’ final tally, pulled Loyola to 11-8, but Saints goalie Skyler Morse calmly handled the Dons’ onslaught in the closing minutes. The junior nabbed seven of his 15 saves in the final quarter. Morse said his teammates played with a renewed confidence Saturday.

“We needed to trust each other a lot more,” said Morse. “Everybody knew what their role was.”

While the Saints relished arguably their biggest win of the season, Loyola coach Jack Crawford saw his veteran squad unable to match its opponents’ intensity.

“There were a lot of simple we didn’t complete everywhere on the field,” said Crawford, who got three goals and two assists from McNamara. “We didn’t finish scoring chance, we didn’t complete possessions, we didn’t pick up ground balls at critical times, we got dumb penalties, and all that adds up to losses in this league. You can not make that many simple errors and expect to compete. It’s disappointing.”

The Dons will look to regroup Tuesday, traveling to a Severn School squad that took Calvert Hall to overtime Friday evening. St. Mary’s host defending league champ and No. 2 Gilman School Tuesday before closing the regular season at neighborhood league rivals Severn and Archbishop Spalding.  

“This team has been through a lot this year and I give the boys a lot of credit for staying together and making sure we’re prepared every time out,” said Chomo. “We got our tails whipped [Tuesday]. We had a good week of preparation. I don’t question the fight in these guys.”

No. 7 St. Mary’s 11, No. 3 Loyola Blakefield 8

St. Mary’s 3 1 3 4-11
Loyola      3 2 2 1-8

Goals: St. Mary’s-Lewnes 6, Coyle 2, Fox 2, Bonacci; Loyola-McNamara 3, Dalton, Class, Dauses, Conrad, Case.

Assists: St. Mary’s-Bonacci 2, Klug, Coyle, Cavanaugh; Loyola-McNamara 2, Dalton, Class, Conrad, Neubauer.

Saves: St. Mary’s-Morse 15; Loyola-Thomas 6.