Entering the season, McDonogh was regarded as the top boys' lacrosse team in the Baltimore-metro area.
Almost two months later and with the start of the playoffs looming, the Eagles have held onto that top spot.
McDonogh clinched the No. 1 seed in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference postseason with a dominant 18-4 victory against Archbishop Spalding May 6. This means the Eagles earn a valuable bye in the first round, along with Boys' Latin, which finished second in the league.
"The bye can be helpful for several reasons: get guys healthy; it allows time for a little extra team preparation, and you get more practice time for younger, bench guys to help develop them for depth in playoffs and or next year," McDonogh head coach Andy Hilgartner said.
Even though McDonogh clinched the top spot with one game remaining in the regular season, Hilgartner did not alter his team's preparation, especially with the season finale against rival Gilman. The Eagles dominated Gilman, 13-4, May 10 knocking the Greyhounds out of the playoffs.
"Sometimes, the bye takes you out of your rhythm, so we try to keep on somewhat of a normal schedule," Hilgartner said. "This year, with the semis on a Monday, it will be different, so who knows how it will all work out."
The rest of the playoff field consists of No. 4 Calvert Hall hosting No. 5, Loyola, while No. 6 Severn travels to No. 3 St. Paul's. Both games will be played May 13.
McDonogh Girls Look To Win Eighth Straight IAAM Title
The McDonogh girls' lacrosse team carries a 153-game winning streak into the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference semifinals. The Eagles have won the past seven conference titles and are ranked as the nation's top team in every high school poll.
In its final regular-season game, McDonogh trailed Century, 11-7, with 8:14 remaining in the game before rallying to win. Junior attacker Catie May's goal with just more than two minutes remaining forced overtime. Just one minute into the extra period, May struck again with her fourth goal to give the Eagles the 12-11 victory. That proved to be a good test for the Eagles, who then cruised past Garrison Forest, 23-8, in the IAAM quarterfinals May 10.
The Eagles host Notre Dame Prep in the semifinals May 12, while Severn travels to No. 2 Roland Park.
Hereford Sweeps Baltimore County Titles
The Hereford Bulls won the girls' and boys' Baltimore County lacrosse championships. Sophomore Kylie Nause scored three goals and had two assists to lead the girls past Dulaney, 10-9, May 7. The Bulls are the No. 2 seed in the Class 2A/3A North region.
On the boys' side, Matt Lewis scored four goals and Cole Quattrocche (Goucher) added a hat trick during an 11-8 victory against Towson May 7. It was the Bulls' eighth county championship in the past nine seasons. Hereford earned the second seed in the North region of the Class 2A/3A playoffs.
MPSSAA Playoffs -- Top Seeds
Class 3A/4A Section I
East: Severna Park
East: Severna Park
West: Walt Whitman
Class 2A/3A Section I
South: Mt. Hebron
East: Kent Island
South: Marriotts Ridge
Class 1A/2A Section I
North: Sparrows Point
East: Southern (Anne Arundel)
South: Carver A&T
East: Southern (Anne Arundel)
West: Manchester Valley
PNC Lacrosse Spotlight:
Dulaney Senior Attackman Garrett Michel
Garrett Michel is a creative senior attackman who led the Dulaney Lions to the Class 3A/4A state semifinals a year ago. He and head coach Kyle Fiat are looking to lead the Lions on a similar run this season. Michel is a four-year varsity player who has taken on an even bigger leadership role this season with his relentless effort in games and practice. He will attend CCBC Essex in the fall.
Who was your biggest influence with lacrosse growing up?
Garrett Michel: My older brother, Taylor. He is five years older than me, and I spent my early childhood at his games and practices. He excelled at both football and lacrosse and was recruited for both sports in high school.
As a four-year varsity player, what type of advice do you give to some of the younger players, and what type of leadership role have you embraced this season?
GM: To work as hard as you can at everything -- whether that is going after ground balls, riding or transition, because you never know when your number is called, and you have to be ready. When I'm on the field and we turn the ball over, my sole focus is to get it right back, and I will be relentless. I think that example sets the tone. I'm a player and one part of a bigger picture, but if I make a mistake, I'm going to turn that into a positive on the next play. Hopefully, the younger guys are paying attention and realize that the only thing that matters after the mistake is how you respond. I have never been a vocal leader; my focus has always been judge me by what I do, not by what I say. I try every day to go as hard as I can and lead by example.
How have you gotten better each season at Dulaney?
GM: Under Coach Fiat, I have been involved in the [Bigger, Faster, Stronger] program, as well as weight training classes, and the results have improved my strength and speed. This has really translated to the field with my dodging and the power of my shot. I possess a greater understanding of where the opportunities lie during the game. Coach has taught me to be patient and uncompromising with my effort. If a mistake is made, I look to the next play or the next opportunity, and I don't dwell on the past. I have also learned the disciplines needed to play lacrosse at the next level. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. to train, although difficult, has been one of the greatest benefits to my game and to the team as a whole. Coach Fiat and the staff have taught me selflessness and commitment to whatever task I am responsible for.
For more from Michel, including what his plans are for next season and how he keeps up with the game during the offseason, read the full interview here.