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Breaks Through For MIAA Title
McDonogh boys' lacrosse head coach Andy Hilgartner and his players were surrounded by expectations entering the season as the area's top-ranked team.
The Eagles embraced the challenge and rolled through the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A conference schedule undefeated. And there was no letdown during the postseason, as McDonogh won its first league crown since 2005 with an 8-5 victory against Boys' Latin May 20.
"We have a fantastic group of kids that I get to coach -- a great school to work," Hilgartner said. "I think our guys, as great as this win is, they don't define themselves by wins or losses. We've talked about that for a long time, and that's not who they are. They're more than just the game, and I think that's the perspective we want all our guys to have as they go off to college and leave McDonogh."
After scoring four goals during a 20-6 victory against Loyola Blakefield in the semifinal, Jason Sarro came up big again with a hat trick against Boys' Latin. Rich Dion, Jackson Morrill, Jack Parr, Jack Simmons and Barrett Sutley rounded out the scoring for McDonogh. The defense was stellar once again, with goalie Sean Lanier coming up big with five saves.
McDonogh finished the season 18-1, with its only loss coming against Washington, D.C.-area powerhouse Bullis, 8-7, March 24. The Eagles also survived four overtime games, including a four-overtime, 9-8, thriller against St. Ignatius of Northern California.
Hilgartner was not surprised at his team's success.
"It doesn't shock me, because of the guys that we have," Hilgartner said. "But at the same time, to go now 11-0 in the league against the competition -- it's pretty amazing, and I think it's probably beyond all of our wildest dreams. But we had guys that really sacrificed and worked hard. And when we walked off this field last year [after] losing to St. Mary's, we were certainly disappointed for our seniors, but we were pretty determined to get back here and get another shot at it."
PNC Lacrosse Spotlight:
Glenelg Captains Julia Salandra, Caroline Esmond
Glenelg has put together another stellar season, led by captains Julia Salandra and Caroline Esmond. The two have been dynamic leaders all season. The Gladiators won their first region title since 2008 with a 10-5 victory against Atholton in the 3A/2A South final. Glenelg then advanced to the state championship for the first time since 2008 with a dominant 15-3 victory against C. Milton Wright. Glenelg ran past Oakdale, 14-1, May 24 to capture the Class 3A/2A state championship.
What type of bond do the seniors have on the team after competing with one another during the years?
Julia Salandra: We all get along really well, and we're all very close with one another off the field, and I think that shows in the way that we play with each other. Some of us played on different club teams through the years and would compete against each other all the time, so it is definitely cool to be able to come together with the same goals and win as a team on Glenelg. It has been awesome to just watch everyone grow as lacrosse players, especially Caroline and myself, who started out as the two freshmen on varsity to becoming senior captains together and now getting ready to go off and both play collegiately.
Caroline Esmond: The bond between our seniors is very strong. Some of us have been on the team together for 3-4 years now, so we not only have great chemistry off the field, but we feel comfortable coming to each other and sharing what needs to be fixed or adjusted on the field.
Are you also close off the field?
JS: Absolutely, the other seniors on the team are a few of my best friends, so during lacrosse season, we are literally with each other 24/7, which just makes the season that much better.
CE: Yes, I've grown up playing with the seniors on our team. We have been best friends/neighbors/teammates since elementary school. It's great to be so close with teammates coming into a season because that chemistry is already there.
How did Glenelg get better as the season wore on?
JS: I think that, in the beginning of the season, we knew that we had potential and that we had a lot of great players on the team, but it was a matter of finally coming together as a unit and just playing the game without thinking too much that has brought us more success.
CE: As a team, we gained a lot of confidence as the season went on. We have players of every year (including three freshmen), so I think it took our team a little while to adjust and find that confidence. As we worked on and developed our offenses and defenses, each player was able to show their talents individually but still mesh as a unit. I think that is what has us finishing the games [in playoffs] against teams that we lost to or tied in the regular season.
For more from Salandra and Esmond, including their college plans and what they will remember most about attending and playing for Glenelg, read the full interview here
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1. McDonogh (Md.)
2. Bullis (Md.)
3. Boys' Latin (Md.)
4. Gonzaga (D.C.)
5. St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.)
6. Landon (Md.)
7. Severn (Md.)
8. Loyola Blakefield (Md.)
9. St. Paul's (Md.)
10. Calvert Hall (Md.)
1. McDonogh (Md.)
2. St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.)
3. Bishop Ireton (Va.)
4. Good Counsel (Md.)
5. Roland Park (Md.)
6. Georgetown Visitation (D.C.)
7. Glenelg (Md.)
8. Dulaney (Md.)
9. Marriotts Ridge (Md.)
10. Mt. Hebron (Md.)
for Maryland high school schedules, scores and standings.