The No. 4 McDonogh boys lacrosse team obviously learned something from an early-season loss to No. 1 Loyola, a game that was surprisingly uncompetitive in the demanding and balanced Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association AConference.
The Eagles took that lesson into Tuesday's home game against the Dons on a day to celebrate their seniors, and they did just that.
Quicker to the ball, smarter with it and continually making the extra pass on attack, the Eagles came away with a stunning 13-8 win over Loyola to avenge the sour 9-1 setback to the Dons on April 9.
Brady Faby and Kyle Rice each scored four goals and Tyler Frederick added one goal and three assists as the Eagles improved to 13-5 overall and 7-4 in the MIAA. Loyola, which had taken over the area's top ranking on the strength of a five-game winning streak, fell to 12-4 overall and 7-4 in the league.
Taking a 2-1 advantage into the second period, the Eagles scored five unanswered goals to take control with a 7-1 halftime lead. After killing a man-down situation to start the third quarter, the home team quickly scored — Rice finishing in transition — to leave little doubt. The lead was 13-3 before the Dons scored the game's last five goals in the fourth quarter.
"I think we moved the ball a lot better this time — swinging the ball around quicker. That's something we really worked hard on in practice. We were really focused and everybody played well," Frederick said.
The Eagles have been particularly tough on their home field, including wins over Boys' Latin and St. Paul's. Added energy came from Seniors Day.
"This was a great team win, but we wanted to get this one for the 19 seniors. This was for them," McDonogh coach Andy Hilgartner said.
Loyola coach Jack Crawford couldn't explain why his Dons were uncharacteristically ill-prepared from the start. He's hoping it turns out to be a lesson for his squad.
"You have to give McDonogh credit. They outworked, outran, outhit, outshot and outplayed us in every phase of the game from one end of the field to the other. I can't tell you why we weren't ready to play. There's a lot of good teams in this league, and if you're not focused for every game, you're going to pay. We have to make sure our team understands that," he said.
Goals: L—Distler 3, Smith 2, Krolu 2, Neugauer; M—Faby 4, Rice 4, T. Frederick, Meurer, Kirkood, Davila, Morgan. Assists: L—Cannon 3, Bozel; M—T. Frederick 3, Michel, Eby, Kirkwood. Saves: L—Bradley 6; M—Siebert 6, Gold 4. Half: M, 7-1.