April 30, 2016 — LIVEBLOGGING No. 1 Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) vs. No. 7 Marriottsville Marriotts Ridge (Md.)

40:47 Timeout,McDonogh. That last goal was from a stall-to-score; look for more of that even though the Eagles went away from it earlier

40:34 MCD GOAL Blair Kessler thunders in from the right; McDonogh leads 12-7

38:56 MR GOAL Lily Kennedy from the angle; McDonogh leads 11-7

35:13 Timeout, Marriotts Ridge

35:13 MCD GOAL Aldave comes up with the big goal; Griffin the assist. McDonogh leads 11-6

34:41 MCD GOAL Savannah Buchanan from Andie Aldave (her fourth assist of the game; McDonogh leads 10-6

31:01 Timeout, McDonogh. That’s four in a row for Marriotts Ridge

31:01 MR FP and GoAL Souder from top dead center off Cadoux’s hip; the Eagles’ lead is three!

29:32 MR FP and GOAL Hayleigh Simpson from the center-right hash! Mustangs are trailing 9-5

28:35 MR GOAL Souder with a high quickstick of a Caitlin Ohmnacht pass! Golazo! Marriotts Ridge moves to within 9-4

26:56 MR GOAL Annalise Lower with the finish; the hosts are still six goals adrift

26:14 MCD FP and GOAL Rachel Anderson takes Aldave’s crease feed and sticks it high; McDonogh leads 9-2

25:31 MCD GOAL May with the neat bounce off an Aldave feed; Eagles lead 8-2

HALFTIME Let’s see which side executes the best this half

HALFTIME McDonogh has won draws but has lost a couple of them on violations

HALFTIME It cannot be too comfortable a lead for McDonogh because Marriotts Ridge is doing everything it can to thwart the Eagles’ attack

HALFTIME The siren goes with McDonogh leading by five 

24:48 MCD GOAL Rachel Anderson in the heart of the fan, puts away the Griffin feed; McDonogh leads 7-2

23:13 MR FP Katie Thompson whips it wide a la Selena Lasota and McDonogh backs it up

22:07 MR FP Lexi Souder with the speed run! The Ridge remain behind 6-2

21:07 MCD GOAL May with the score; McDonogh leads 6-1

20:00 MR FP Carly Miller, after drawing a check, false-starts on the chance

15:53 MCD GOAL Jenner in the heart of the fan, dunks an Aldave feed; Eagles lead 5-1

12:26 MCD GOAL Catie May gives the visitors a 4-1 lead

11:44 Timeout, Marriotts Ridge

11:44 MCD FP and GOAL Julia Hoffman finds an open Anna Robinson inside the fan and McDonogh takes a 3-1 lead

8:19 MCD GOAL Aldave from the right side and the Eagles take a 2-1 lead

6:30 MCD FP Aldave from the center is checked and is called for a crease violation

5:30 MR FP Caroline Blalock chooses to run out of the chance; is dispossessed

3:14 MR GOAL Caroline Blalock spins and scores! Game tied 1-1

2:10 MCD GOAL Rachel Anderson slips it inside the goalpost at hip height; McDonogh leads 1-0

1:00 Eagles win the first draw, but smart doubling wins the ball for the Mustangs

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Marriotts Ridge is in the white with navy numerals; McDonogh is in the black with orange numerals

PREGAME The teams are warming up under overcast skies with temperatures around 48 degrees

PREGAME At stake today are not only state bragging rights, but history. McDonogh has won its last 150 games, far and away the longest win streak in the history of U.S. high schools

PREGAME Marriotts Ridge is led by senior Lexi Souder and juniors Sarah and Caroline Blalock

PREGAME McDonogh is a team that does everything well. Andie Aldave and Brindi Griffin are going to Maryland next year. Catie May, Blair Pierre, and Blair Kessler are wonderful offensive threats, and sophomore center Maddie Jenner is a draw-control magician. And if you somehow can get the ball into the McDonogh attack end, goalie Gabbe Cadoux is waiting

PREGAME McDonogh is No. 1 in the TopOfTheCircle.com Top 10; Marriotts Ridge is No. 7

PREGAME McDonogh, the defending IAAM Class A champions, are 17-0; Marriotts Ridge, the 2013 and 2014 MPSSAA champs, are 11-0

PREGAME Hello, and welcome to today’s intersectional match between Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) and Marriottsville Marriotts Ridge (Md.) 

April 29, 2016 — Friday Statwatch for games played through April 27

Hi, all. Back again with Friday Statwatch, where we try to make sense of the numbers that permeate the girls’ lacrosse universe.

The domestic season has about seven more weeks to go, and it’s notable that only one player (that we know of) has broken the 100-goal mark this season. And that player, junior attacking midfielder Jordan Shugrue, is from a tiny Roman Catholic school that just happens to be a part of the best girls’ lacrosse conference in the United States. We’ll have a story on this later this season.

Statwatch reflects games through the end of play the previous Wednesday. I encourage coaches and team managers to enter their information in the easy-to-use MaxPreps.com platform, and we encourage you to get your fellow teams in your league or state high school association to enter their information there as well. We’re aiming to have as complete a statistical picture of the country as possible.

Here’s what we’ve compiled thus far, thanks to, amongst others, MaxPreps.com, Advance Media, The Harrisburg Patriot-News, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MassLive.com, the Denver Post, and The Washington Post:

108 Jordan Shugrue, Laurel St. Vincent Pallotti (Md.)
97 Emma Pizzo, Charleston Bishop England (S.C.)
94 Nicole Hunt, Greensboro Southeast Guilford (N.C.)
90 Jessie Wohner, Virginia Beach Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Va.)
89 Journey Fishbeck, San Juan Capistrano San Juan Hills (Calif.)
88 Peyton Hornung, Fort Myers Canterbury (Fla.)
87 Bridget Ruskey, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
85 Ryann Doyle, Seymour (Tenn.)
82 Carly Vaccaro, Mooresville Lake Norman (N.C.)
82 Krista Thompson, Fort Myers Canterbury (Fla.)
80 Samantha Volz, Holly Springs (N.C.)

71 Balay Woodworth, Dallas North Paulding (Ga.)
66 Corisa Atkins, Wilmington Ashley (N.C.)
65 Allison Hunter, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)
59 Jordyn Pandolfo,San Ramon California (Calif.)
57 Emma Pizzo, Charleston Bishop England (S.C.)
52 Kate Immergluck, Decatur (Ga.)
51 Sabrina Schrader, Pennington Hopewell Valley Central (N.J.)
50 Becky Holley, Littleton Dakota Ridge (Colo.)
50 Payton Fadem, Roswell Blessed Trinity (Ga.)
50 Caroline Hvozdovic, South Brunswick (N.J.)
49 Tatum Altman, North Brunswick (N.J.)
49 Baleigh Bradley, Center Valley Southern Lehigh (Pa.)

558 Sophia Turchetta, Harvard Bromfield School (Mass.)
382 Daniella MacMahon, Saddle River (N.J.) Country Day School
366 Samantha Mehalick, North Brunswick (N.J.)
332 Bridget Ruskey, Cape May Courthouse Middle Township (N.J.)

180 Tatum Altman, North Brunswick (N.J.)

148 Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.)

708 Kathy Jenkins, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.)
504 Deanna Knobloch, Moorestown (N.J.)

Now, this list is far from perfect. We knew that coming in. If you see a stat that is a little awry (or a lot), don’t send it in the comments section, but send an email to TopOfTheCircle.com. Your email should include a bit of documentation (a website will do) or someone that can be called to double-check. Friday Statwatch is a malleable feature (alongside the Daily Statwatch) that can be altered or added to at any time. Please let us know if we’ve missed something, and we’ll be back next week.

April 28, 2016 — 100 days to the Olympics, 101 to destiny

With 100 days until Rio, the U.S. women’s field hockey team knows its slate of games in pool play. And now, they know the order in which they have to play them.

The Americans will begin the day after the Opening Ceremony, opening women’s pool play against its greatest rival, Argentina.

Much as was the case four years ago, the States need to have a good start in the 12-team Olympic tournament, given the fact that they are in the Group of Death along with India, Team GB, Australia, and Japan. The other group in the women’s championship include overwhelming favorite Holland, along with Spain, Germany, China, Korea, and New Zealand.

There is, however, a greater margin for error in pool play during these Olympics because, for the first time in Olympic history, a quarterfinal round is going to be played, like in all other FIH world tournaments the last few years. In other words, the Americans aren’t aiming to be in the top two of the group in order to make the knockout stage, but only have to avoid being in the bottom two.

Still, the fact that the United States has beaten Argentina in the last two Pan American Games, as well as in the 2012 London games, the Americans are looking for full points out of the opener against their PAHF rival.

April 27, 2016 — When depth may not be an asset

Remember this?

Today, this happened.

And as we thought in February, the decision on which 13 players to cut was a difficult one. Amongst those who did not make the final roster were former WNBA MVP Candace Parker, two-time Lieberman Award winner Skylar Diggins, five-time WNBA All-Star Candice Dupree, and the Ogwumike sisters, Chiney and Nnemkadi.

That’s an awful lot of talent left off the Olympic roster.

Which means that there is an awful lot of talent on the roster. Look at the player positions, and four of them are swing players: Elena Delle Donne, Seimone Augustus, and Angel McCoughtrey are guard-forwards, and Breanna Stewart is a forward-center.

Social media has been aflutter over the last two days since it was leaked that Parker was not going to make the team despite her experience and her leadership in a four-game European tour last October.

But, as Mechelle Voepel at espnW observes, “There’s no such thing as an ‘until you retire’ appointment to the national team.”

And it’s important to break this down a bit. It used to be, especially in USA Field Hockey, a tenure system where veteran players could simply show up at “A” Camp, have one good week of practice and scrimmages, and renew their gold cards for the next year.

Instead, most national teams have selection camps from which a side is chosen in time for a major world tournament, as is the case with soccer.

It’s also important to note here that, while Geno Auriemma is the head coach of the United States, and that five of his former players from the University of Connecticut are going to Rio with him, it’s one fewer than the number of UConn alumnae who went to London.

Too, the team was selected by USA Basketball’s Carol Callan, the WNBA’s Renee Brown, veteran WNBA/ABL coach Dan Hughes, Chris Sienko of the Connecticut Sun, and New York Liberty assistant coach Katie Smith.

While this roster is being selected 100 days before Rio, anything can happen. This, especially given the wave of injuries that have befallen your current FIFA World Cup champions in the last several weeks.

I have a feeling Parker’s phone is going to be ringing sometime soon.


April 26, 2016 — Top 10 for the week of April 24

One of the hazards of the Top 10 is that the ratings only take into account games played through the end of play on Sunday, meaning that several important games played yesterday will not have affected the back-of-the-envelope rankings seen below; any results from yesterday will be reflected next week.

1. Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) 14-0

Eagles finish their IAAM slate Friday, then take on Ellicott City Marriott’s Ridge (Md.) and Sykesville Century (Md.) to finish their regular season

2. Summit (N.J.) 9-0

Impressive wins over Westfield (N.J.), Ridgewood (N.J.), and Mountain Lakes (N.J.) in consecutive games; were to meet Smithtown (N.Y.) West yesterday

3. Garden City (N.Y.) 8-1

Beat a faltering Farmingdale (N.Y.) team before yesterday’s showdown at Camillus West Genesee (N.Y.)

4. Darien (Conn.) 6-1

To meet unbeaten Manhasset (N.Y.) tomorrow

5. Manhasset (N.Y.) 8-0

The Indians will take on Darien (Conn.) tomorrow and Garden City (N.Y.) on Saturday

6. Westwood (Mass.) 7-0

Beat Longmeadow (Mass.) 8-7 last Thursday in state title rematch

7. Ellicott City Marriotts Ridge (Md.) 10-0

Mustangs have Annapolis (Md.) tomorrow then an April 30th showdown with McDonogh

8. Olney Good Counsel (Md.) 12-1

The Falcons were to meet McDonogh yesterday and finish the regular season against Moorestown (N.J.)

9. Syracuse Christian Brothers Academy (N.Y.) 6-0

Got by defending state Class C champion Mount Sinai (N.Y.) 11-10 last week

10. Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.) 10-0

The Phantoms have had four statement wins in their last four outings against Hauppage (N.Y.), Yorktown (N.Y.), Babylon (N.Y.), and Mount Sinai (N.Y.)

Who’s out: South Huntington St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) 10-4 loss to Manhasset (N.Y.); 10-7 loss to Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.); Severna Park (Md.) 13-10 loss to Ellicott City Howard (Md.); Baltimore Roland Park (Md.) 15-5 loss t0 Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.)

And bear in mind: Novato (Calif.) 16-0, Denver Colorado Academy (Colo.) 10-0, Windsor Loomis Chaffee (Conn.) 7-0, Orlando Olympia (Fla.) 21-2, Vero Beach (Fla.) 18-4, Milton (Ga.) 15-2, Wantagh (N.Y.) 11-1, B (N.Y.) 10-0, Glen Mills Garnet Valley (Pa.) 10-1, Springfield (Pa.) 10-1, Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.) 14-1, Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.) 13-2

April 25, 2016 —  Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) 16, Olney Good Counsel (Md.) 5

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — You might think that Maddie Jenner, the sophomore center for the girls’ lacrosse team from Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) might credit her sister Olivia, who has continued her prowess in the draw circle for Duke University this season, for being her first and greatest influence as a lacrosse player.

Instead, she credits her former babysitter, who just happens to be one of the greatest all-around centers in the history of collegiate lacrosse.

“Karri Ellen Johnson used to come over to our house,” Jenner said of the former Maryland All-American. “I had met her at a camp, and she would play lacrosse with us when she babysat us.”

Jenner has paced McDonogh this season with her prowess in the draw-control circle, and she was a major reason why the Eagles picked up a 16-5 win over Olney Good Counsel (Md.) in a meeting of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the LaxPower.com computer ratings. On the day, the seven-time defending IAAM Class A champions won the first 10 draws of the match and 18 of 23 overall.

“Usually, it’s just The Maddie Jenner show, but today we had all of our midfielders playing well on the draw, getting to the 50-50 balls,” said McDonogh head coach Chris Robinson.

And they needed to get to those groundballs, because Good Counsel had an experienced and speedy midfield. Though the Eagles took a 3-0 lead in under four minutes, the Falcons were able to score on their very first shot of the game approximately 12 seconds after making a save on a McDonogh scoring opportunity. Good Counsel’s Chloe Johnson, using exceptional speed, arrowed the ball into the cage.

But McDonogh was able to win the next draw, and Catie May, who has been exceptional the last couple of contests, scored on a 3/4 wraparound goal that sparked a 12-1 run for the Eagles. The run was generated by draw-control wins by Jenner and her wings. Blair Jenner also had a hat trick for McDonogh.

During the last seven-plus seasons and during the Eagles’ 148-game winning streak, they have always had good centers — Taylor Cummings, Olivia Jenner, Andie Aldave, and now this sophomore sensation. Standing 5-foot-11, Maddie Jenner is a woman amongst girls. She takes and executes center draws with frightening efficiency, as if she is in another universe.

And because the National Federation only allows six players in between the restraining lines on draws, it simplifies the variables that a center has to account for when the umpire sets up the center draw.

“We just got beat on the draws like a rented mule,” the veteran Falcon coach Michael Haight said. “They’ve got to want the ball. They’ve got to want to make plays.”

Haight has been the coach of Good Counsel for the past 15 seasons, and has brought the program from sub-.500 records in 2002 and 2003 into one which has been competing on a national level the last few seasons. Indeed, it was nine years ago this week when Good Counsel first placed McDonogh, losing 12-6. Then, as now, the Falcons have tested themselves liberally against out-of-area competition, playing the likes of Milton (Ga.), Alexandria St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (Va.), and McDonogh; the Falcons finish their regular season Saturday at Moorestown (N.J.) before embarking on the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament.

“We’re just trying to be consistent, and keep getting athletes,” Haight said. “But in order for us to get to that next level, we have to do those little things well. Tight interior stick skills, and once we get them, we’re great. We’re one of those teams that’s not going to be afraid of playing McDonogh. We’ll play them every year, and someday we’ll get their number.”

GOOD COUNSEL (14-2) 2 – 3 — 5
MCDONOGH (15-0) 10 – 6 — 16
Goals — GC: Kendall Welch 2, Chloe Johnson, Lexi Rieu, Taylor McDaniels; M: Catie May 3, Blair Kessler 3, Andie Aldave 2, Brindi Griffin 2, Samantha Buchanan 2, Rachel Anderson 2, Maddie Jenner, Blair Pierre. Assists — GC: Welch, Aiden Peduzzi; M: Griffin 3, Aldave 2, Nicole Alecce, Hannah Rothe.
Shots — GC: 10; M: 21. Saves — GC: Kiley Keating 5; M: Gabbe Cadoux 5.


FULL TIME Box score and story to follow

FULL TIME In the end, McDonogh was too good on the attack end, on the draw circle, and on defense

FULL TIME At the final whistle, McDonogh wins 16-5

48:35 OLGC GOAL Lexi Rieu with the right-side forehand; McDonogh leads 16-5

47:40 MCD GOAL Maddie Jenner with a cut and lefty finish; McDonogh leads 16-4

47:10 OLGC YELLOW Halle Graham  with her first card, team first

44:40 OLGC GOAL Off the next draw, Kendall Welch connects; Good Counsel trails 15-4


44:00 OLGC GOAL Taylor McDaniels from the center-right hash, but the Falcons trail 15-3

43:43 MCD YELLOW Blair Kessler is off for two minutes; her first card, team second

39:45 MCD FP and GOAL Brindi Griffin, from the left hash, puts it top shelf where Mama keeps the thin mints; McDonogh leads 15-2

34:40 OLGC FP Kendall Welch is open at top dead center, but Gabbe Cadoux makes the save; it has been that kind of day for Good Counsel

30:40 MCD GOAL Blair Kessler is allowed to go down the seam; McDonogh leads 14-2

28:13 MCD GOAL Rachel Anderson connects and the Eagles keep piling on the pressure; score is 13-2

26:30 MCD GOAL Buchanan bounces it in and the hosts lead 12-2; the clock runs

25:13 MCD GOAL May takes a feed from Griffin and the score is 11-2

25:00 The second half is under way

HALFTIME Good Counsel can still win this game if they can get the ball to their amazingly speedy midfield

HALFTIME McDonogh has won this half at the draw circle, winning 13 of 14 draw controls

HALFTIME At the half, the McDonogh School leads 10-2

24:50 MCD GOAL A good bit of interior passing leads to a Catie May finish; McDonogh leads 10-2

21:48 MCD GOAL Credit Rachel Anderson with the goal that brings McDonogh a 9-2 advantage 

19:04 MCD GOAL Savannah Buchanan from the angle; McDonogh takes an 8-2 lead

16:46 OLGC FP and GOAL Emma Bartlett connects off the restart; Falcons still trail by five

16:43 MCD YELLOW Julia Dorsey is off for the high check

14:24 MCD FP and GOAL Blair Pearre from the center-left hash and the lead is six

12:06 MCD FP and GOAL Aldave weaves high through two checks and changes levels; brilliant goal. McDonogh leads 6-1

10:31 MCD GOAL Griffin with a simple forehand and McDonogh’s lead is four 

9:38 MCD GOAL Catie May with a golazo! Takes the entry pass on the run from Brindi Griffin and shovels it in from a 3/4 profile at the elbow! Eagles lead 4-1


4:29 OLGC GOAL Seconds after securing possession, Chloe Johnson finishes off the fast break; McDonogh leads 3-1

3:06 MCD GOAL Kessler with a brace following the third straight draw control for the hosts; McDonogh leads 3-0

2:29 MCD GOAL Andie Aldave opens her account; Eagles lead 2-0

2:00 MCD FP and GOAL Blair Kessler from top dead center; McDonogh leads 1-0

0:00 The game is on

PREGAME Good Counsel are in the navy jerseys with gold lettering; McDonogh is in the white with black numbers and orange trim

PREGAME The teams are warming up on the turf under sunny skies with temperatures around 81 degrees

PREGAME This is one of the most highly anticipated regular-season matches since 2012, and, as such, should provide plenty of excitement

PREGAME Good Counsel, out of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, is 13-1 and the No. 2 team in the LaxPower.com computer poll; McDonogh, out of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland, is 14-0 and No. 1 in both the LaxPower and TopOfTheCircle.com Top 10

PREGAME Good afternoon, and welcome to Dixon Field for this intersectional match between Olney Good Counsel (Md.) and Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.)

April 25, 2016 — The lucky 13

Beginning Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., an umpire will set a yellow rubber ball in the middle of two backward-facing lacrosse sticks, take a few steps back, and blow a whistle.

The opening draw of the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament will set off a 10-day carnival of power, skill, and tactics that will qualify 13 teams to the NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse tournament, and will also represent the last best chance for 13 others to make the field on an at-large basis.

Given the fact that there are still regular-season games being played this week, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what the various non-winning conference tournament teams need to do in order to make the NCAA Tournament.

I do believe, however, that the world of women’s lacrosse is pretty much unchanged from a year ago. That is to say, the ACC will get the lion’s share of tournament berths, with the Colonial, America East, and Big East vying for being those last teams to get in.

I think, however, the tournament with the greatest intrigue is going be the Big Ten. Four Big Ten teams are in the top 26 in Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), a formula which takes into account both opposing records and the opponents of their opponents. Depending on what happens in the next 10 days, half of them might be eliminated after the tournament finishes weekend after next.

Maryland, which holds the No. 1 ranking in the national polls, also holds down the No. 1 RPI rating as calculated last evening by LaxPower.com. They will make the tournament no matter what they do in the Big Ten Tournament.

Penn State, which plays Maryland later this week, holds down the No. 9 RPI rating. Ohio State holds down the No. 22 rating, which means that the Buckeyes are hoping that at least nine teams ranked higher than them win their conference tournaments.

The team to watch, however, is Northwestern, which is No. 14 in RPI ratings. The Wildcats are 7-8 on the season and have one regular-season game left, at Ohio State. It is an enormous game for Northwestern because of the NCAA regulation that a team have a .500 record is a requirement for making it as an at-large team. If Northwestern is able to beat Ohio State on Friday, the Wildcats need to only win one game in the Big Ten Tournament in order to qualify for the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team.

If Northwestern doesn’t win, then it would have to win two matches, including what could be a semifinal against a top-seeded Maryland side, which has 10-goalled the Wildcats the last two times they have met.

Stay tuned. This could be an incredible conference tournament season.



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