A victory against McDonogh early in the season sparked Calvert Hall, which ran through its conference schedule undefeated.
The Eagles, meanwhile, used that game to improve some of their weaknesses and went on to win eight of their final nine games.
Calvert Hall and McDonogh will meet again for even higher stakes in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association "A" conference championship game at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field May 25. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., and game officials expect a crowd of more than 2,000.
The top-seeded Cardinals (16-2) beat archrival Loyola, 12-8, in the semifinals May 22. JT Bugliosi (Ohio State), Jacob Kelly (North Carolina) and Zach Green (Maryland) scored three goals apiece to pace Calvert Hall, which is looking for its first conference title since 2012 and third overall.
"During my time at Calvert Hall, I've never been to a championship game," said Green, a junior. "I'm just really excited to get out there."
The third-seeded Eagles (17-3) were impressive during their 11-8 semifinal win against No. 2 Boys' Latin. Griffin Catlett (Duke), Jack Sweeney, Liam Powderly, Jack Simmons (Georgetown) and Jack Parr (Brown) led McDonogh's balanced attack with two goals each.
McDonogh, which went 7-2 in the MIAA regular season, appears to have the experience, talent and confidence to win its fourth overall title in program history.
"Losing two games in the conference was hard," said midfielder BJ Farrare, who had a goal and two assists in the semifinals. "We're not really used to it, but we fought through it, and it's hard to beat us twice, so let's go."
In the "B" conference, John Carroll (14-5), the two-time defending champion, will face Gerstell Academy (16-2). Faceoff is set for 5:15 p.m., also at Johns Hopkins May 25. John Carroll handed Gerstell one of its two losses on the season with a 15-7 win April 21.
Beth Tfiloh (13-2) and Indian Creek (14-3) will battle for the "C" conference crown at 3 p.m. Indian Creek beat Beth Tfiloh, 15-10, in their regular-season meeting April 20.