Nearly two months ago, McDonogh won a second straight MIAA A Conference lacrosse championship. Friday, the Eagles began what they hope will end next spring with a piece of history.
McDonogh defeated Boys’ Latin, 8-5, in the title game of the National High School Lacrosse Showcase at Blandair Park in Columbia. Rising junior midfielder Bogue Hahn scored four goals for the Eagles, and Brendan Millon added two goals and an assist.
McDonogh constructed a 7-1 second half advantage before withstanding a Boys’ Latin fourth quarter push to win the summer event for the first time since 2017. The Owings Mills school went a perfect 6-0 over two days.
It was the first time McDonogh has been together since claiming the MIAA A title at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex in mid-May.
“We were pretty juiced up to see each other again. We haven’t seen the younger guys because it’s been such a crazy summer,” said Millon. “It was great to get back out there, see the guys and start our ascent to the mountain again.”
Sal Picataggi and James Margraff, assistants under longtime Eagles coach Andy Hilgartner, guided McDonogh at the NHSLS, one of the premier events on the summer lacrosse recruiting circuit.
Hilgartner, who started the NHSLS along with legendary former Boys’ Latin coach Bob Shriver in 2013, was able to get a good look at some of his 2024 team Friday evening. The championship game, televised live on ESPNU, was delayed nearly two hours because of heavy rain and lighting that hit the Baltimore region late Friday afternoon.
“We lost a big class and a really great group of guys, but I think we played unselfishly, we played with energy and enthusiasm and those were great signs to see,” said Hilgartner. “We didn’t have a lot of defensemen, but the guys who were here played well. I thought our goalie and faceoff guys played well.”
The Eagles had little stress in pool play Thursday, winning its three matches by a combined 25 goals. Friday, McDonogh distanced New Jersey Non-Public A state runner Seton Hall Prep (12-6 in quarterfinals) before holding off Connecticut prep school power Taft Academy, 9-8 in the semifinals, on the strength of three goals from rising senior Ben Firlie and nine saves from rising junior goalie Aiden Seibel.
Against Boys’ Latin, a team McDonogh defeated in classic battles in this spring’s and last year’s MIAA A semifinals, the Eagles ran off six straight scores Friday to build a commanding 7-1 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Lakers, playing in their first NHSLS final since 2013, rallied. Boys’ Latin scored four unanswered goals, capped with rising junior Connor Sydnor’s second tally of the evening, bringing it to 7-5 with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.
Seibel, who went undefeated as starting goalie for the Eagles during the spring, stopped a Laker shot, and Hahn buried a shot into an empty net with 1 minute, 25 seconds to play.
Firlie, a Georgetown commit, had a goal along with rising junior midfielder Eli Schaller. Colin Kenney and Liam White each scored for Boys’ Latin.
During the spring, McDonogh went 17-1, finishing No. 1 in the final Baltimore Banner/VSN Top 15 and No. 3 nationally by Inside Lacrosse. The Eagles’ lone setback came against Loyola Blakefield in a game they rallied from a 11-goal second half deficit to tie late in regulation.
McDonogh defeated Calvert Hall in the MIAA A final to become just the third team to go back-to-back in what’s widely considered to be the nation’s best high school boys lacrosse league.
Friday’s NHSLS title could be a promising bellwether for the Eagles, who will attempt next year to become the second team to win three straight MIAA A titles.
“We have to stick to what we’ve been doing the past couple of years, getting after it in the fall and winter…working our butts off,” said Millon, who was the Baltimore Banner/VSN Offensive Player of the Year. “If we keep getting after it, we’ll have a good chance.”
“I love having a target on our back and the team embraces it,” said rising senior attack Luke Miller, who’s committed to reigning NCAA Division I national champ Notre Dame. “We lived by it everyday and it was printed on our t-shirts: Hunted. We’re not going to sit back and defend our title, we were going to get it. The same applies for next year.”
NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL LACROSSE SHOWCASE CHAMPIONSHIP
at Blandair Park
MCDONOGH 8, BOYS’ LATIN 5
Boys’ Latin 1 0 1 2 - 5
McDonogh 3 2 2 1 - 8
Goals: Boys’ Latin - Connor Sydnor 2, Matthew Higgins, Colin Kenney, Liam White; McDonogh - Bogue Hahn 4, Brendan Millon 2, Ben Firlie, Eli Schaller
Assists: Boys’ Latin - George Insley, Spencer Ford; McDonogh - Luke Miller, Millon
Goals: Boys’ Latin - Garrett Held 11; McDonogh - Aidan Seibel 9