Boys’ lacrosse: Georgetown Prep makes adjustment to get past Gonzaga, 10-7

The Little Hoyas defeat the rival Purple Eagles, for the first time since 2011, led by Charlie Horning's four goals. (Angela Lewis/The Washington Post)

Georgetown Prep offensive coordinator Charlie Horning knew he needed to change things up at halftime of a 3-3 game at home Wednesday against No. 4 Gonzaga. The Eagles’ defense was handling the top-ranked Little Hoyas’ 2-3-1 formation, so Horning put Prep in a 1-4-1.

The move led to seven second-half goals, including two goals in two minutes from Horning’s son — also Charlie — as the Little Hoyas improved to 12-0 with a 10-7 win.

“The play wasn’t designed for me to shoot, but a short-stick defender switched out on me, and since I’m an attacker, I recognized the matchup,” said Horning, whose four goals against the Eagles followed a hat trick against No. 2 Landon on Friday. “He didn’t come to my top shoulder, so I knew I had a good chance.”

The Little Hoyas’ win may have re-established them atop the D.C.-area lacrosse hierarchy after they had fallen to the Eagles each of the past two seasons.

“Since last year, I’ve been waiting for this game,” said midfielder Brendan Collins, who assisted on one of Horning’s goals. “We’d been on a big run, going 11-0, but this one meant a lot. Landon was big, but I think this game was the one on our schedule that was most important to us.”

It was a rough-and-tumble game full of hard checks and slashing calls. Ground balls spent ages on the turf while Hoyas and Eagles seized those loose-ball opportunities to display their mutual respect with exchanges of hard shoves and relentless whacks.

Horning’s adjustment loomed large, as did the play of Prep goalie Will Railey, who came up with big saves on several point-blank opportunities, in particular from the Eagles’ Richie Petitbon, the Alabama-bound football lineman who controlled the front of the crease Wednesday and muscled his way to two quick goals. Railey stymied later chances from Petitbon and others.

“He kept us in the game again,” Prep Coach Kevin Giblin said. “He’s very good.”

Railey’s play — and a strong showing from Jack Olson and Bobby Hartwick on faceoffs — made the shift in offensive scheme from the elder Horning and the finishes from the younger stand up.

“Put that in there, ‘Coach takes care of son!’,” Giblin joked, before saying of the younger Horning, “He’s quiet, but he’s a competitor and he plays hard. He doesn’t take plays off, and we’d like to get most of our guys to be that way.”

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