A year ago, Gonzaga celebrated a narrow home victory over Boys’ Latin as a milestone for a boys’ lacrosse team that continues to boost its national profile under sixth-year coach Casey O’Neill.
Last week, the return trip to visit the talent-laden Lakers in Baltimore wasn’t as kind to the Eagles, who took a humbling 13-4 loss to the MIAA-A power that proved a useful measuring stick in its own way. It was the team’s first defeat by more than two goals in over three years.
“They’re the best team in the country by far,” senior defender Matt Borda said. “They’ll probably finish No. 1. They just blew us out, got on us early, and we couldn’t recover. Now we can learn from it and move on.”
Gonzaga’s schedule doesn’t allow much chance to look backward. The three-time Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champions (5-2) already have more losses this season than they suffered all of last season when they went 20-1 and unbeaten against local competition to finish atop The Post’s rankings for the first time.
They also have a win over last season’s MIAA-A champ Calvert Hall as part of last Friday’s Spring Classic at Towson University. The team’s other loss came 7-6 to The Hill Academy, the top high school team from Canada.
“We’d much rather have the schedule we have than one we’d just run through,” said senior midfielder Max Planning after Tuesday’s 6-4 win over DeMatha. “It’s exciting to have a schedule that gives us a chance to be considered one of the top teams in the country.”
No area team can match Gonzaga’s experience with an all-senior starting lineup, paced by four four-year varsity players.
Borda and Bucknell recruit Jack Slater headline the defense with Planning the veteran among the midfielders. Attackman Alex Corboy, a second-team All-Met last year when he led the team in scoring, rounds out that battle-tested group, trying for its fourth WCAC title in as many years.
The immediate schedule offers little relief with matchups looming against rivals Georgetown Prep and Landon in the next two weeks plus a visit from McDonogh, which was the only team to beat Gonzaga last season. The Eagles had never beaten the Little Hoyas before last season.
“They’ve earned a schedule like this,” O’Neill said. “We’ve already lost more games than last year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be a better team.”
Maltz is rapidly approaching a pair of Stone Bridge career offensive marks currently held by his older brother Derek, a 2010 All-Met who currently starts at attack for Syracuse. Dylan is just nine goals behind his brother’s career record of 159 goals and sits just seven behind his brother’s 255 career points, also a Bulldogs’ record.
Dylan already holds the record for career assists at Stone Bridge, passing his brother’s total of 96 assists earlier this year. He’ll have two chances to break Derek’s other records next week in a pair of road games against Falls Church and Jefferson.
Facing a beefed up nonconference schedule, Gonzaga has already dropped more games than it did all of last season, but the Eagles have not lost to an area opponent since April 2011. . . . Paul VI has already beaten perennial IAC power Georgetown Prep and can add another marquee victory on Saturday at Landon. . . . After going unbeaten en route to last season’s Maryland 4A title, South River starts the year as the top-ranked public school team. All-Met attackman Ben Chisolm, a Maryland recruit, leads the Seahawks.
1. Gonzaga (5-2)
2. Landon (3-2)
3. Paul VI (6-0)
4. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (4-2)
5. South River (1-0)
6. Georgetown Prep (4-3)
7. Severn (3-1)
8. Bullis (2-3)
9. St. Mary’s-Annapolis (2-1)
10. Severna Park (1-0)
Records through Tuesday
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