Eagles connect on 10 of their first 16 shots to secure their second MIAA A Conference victory
by Nelson Coffin
McDonogh attackman Jack Horrigan rippled the net five times — and ripped it once — in the Eagles’ 16-10 MIAA A Conference lacrosse victory over St. Mary’s in Annapolis on Tuesday afternoon.
Maybe the net was already a little loose from McDonogh’s sizzling shooting before Horrigan’s lefty scorcher, with just over eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, completed the job, forcing an official to make a quick repair before the game could resume with the Eagles comfortably ahead, 15-8.
They started the game on a 4-for-4 shooting rampage and canned 10 of their first 16 shots (62%) to grab a 10-4 halftime advantage against a very solid Saints’ backline.
Horrigan said that his six goals were a career best.
“We kept moving the ball and kept dodging,” the Providence College commit said. “We found the right hole in the goal.”
The Eagles were so on fire that St. Mary’s coach Victor Lilly changed goalies from senior Wes Schmidt to junior Zack Overend, although nothing seemed to discourage an offense that knows what it’s doing and does so with great gusto.
“Anytime we can get the (starting) goalie out — that’s great,” said Horrigan, who scored four goals in McDonogh’s opener against Mount St. Joseph.
In addition to Horrigan, freshman Luke Miller produced three goals and a pair of assists while sophomore McCabe Miller had three feeds.
On the midfield, senior Jack Dudas took charge with four goals while classmate Dante Trader (2 goals) and Hugh Brown (1 goal) also pestered St. Mary’s.
McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said that because the usual preseason games were wiped out because of COVID protocols, his team is still learning to run its offense.
The Eagle coach knows that his defense has enough talent to keep the Eagles competitive if the offense falters.
Against the Saints, the defense, especially solid senior Scotty Hilgartner and standout junior defenders Malachi Jones and Jonny Cool, were impressive in front of junior goalie Anthony Wilson (9 saves).
“(Wilson) made some big saves when we really needed stops,” Andy Hilgartner said. “And we turned some of those stops into good possessions.”
“Playing against our defense in practice really helps to make us better,” Horrigan added.
McDonogh was perfect coming out of the gate with Horrigan, Dudas and Miller using pinpoint accuracy to score four times on four shots while St. Mary’s countered with goals by junior attackman Will Hopkins and senior running mate Tyler Barnett.
The game really turned when the Eagles put together a 5-0 run on two goals by Dudas and one each by Trader, Horrigan and Miller to build a 9-2 lead with seven minutes remaining before the intermission.
A comeback at that point would have been difficult at best, despite a nice effort by the Saints to make a game of it by notching four of the next five goals to pull within 10-6 midway through the third period.
The rally’s final tally came on an acrobatic maneuver by Barnett, who collected a pass from Hopkins and somehow managed to bury a backhanded shot past Wilson while tumbling to the ground.
However, goals by Dudas and Horrigan ignited a 5-2 McDonogh run that went well into the final period to increase the visitors’ lead to 14-8.
“McDonogh game down here with a good game plan — like Andy’s teams always do — and they executed their game plan better than we did (ours),” Lilly said. “They shot the ball at the right time with placement and velocity. They stress your whole six-man defense. But there are ups and downs in this league, and one game doesn’t win or lose a championship.”
Pictured above: McDonogh junior defenseman Jonny Cool confronts St. Mary’s Junior attackman Will Hopkins in the Eagles’ 16-10 win Tuesday afternoon.
MIAA A CONFERENCE LACROSSE
MCDONOGH SCHOOL 16, ST. MARY’S HIGH SCHOOL 10
McD 4 6 4 2 — 16
SM 2 2 4 2 — 10
Goals: McD-Jack Horrigan 6, Jack Dudas 4, Luke Miller 3, Dante Trader 2, Hugh Brown; SM-Tyler Barnett 4, Will Hopkins 3, Nick Golini 1, Sean Berzins, Erik Chick.
Assists: McD-McCabe Millon 3, Luke Miller 2; SM-Will Hopkins 2 Nick Golini.
Saves: McD-Anthony Wilson 9; SM-Wes Schmidt 2, Zack Overend 7.