TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

May 11, 2015 — History repeats, and repeats again

If you look at the history of field hockey and girls’ lacrosse in American secondary schools over the years, the origins, histories, and recent trends parallel each other to an almost supernatural degree.

Of course, both sports have shared athletes over the years; many played both and coached both at the U.S. collegiate level , and many do the same today at U.S. schools. A handful of women over the years have played on both the senior national field hockey and the senior national women’s lacrosse sides.

But in a pair of games played about six months apart, the far-and-away standard bearers of the sport at the U.S. scholastic level showed remarkable pluck and resilience in winning their final games of the season.

Just as Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) was able to defeat Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) by one goal in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions for field hockey last fall, Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) was able to beat Baltimore Roland Park (Md.) by one goal.

Both Eastern’s field hockey team and McDonogh’s girls’ lacrosse team are blessed with many good athletes and good coaches. Eastern, last fall, had six members of the Futures Elite program when no other U.S. high school had more than three. Eastern also had two members of the Youth Olympic Qualifier team from last summer. McDonogh, for its part, has two players who will be playing for the United States in the FIL U-19 World Cup this summer.

Both programs are currently on long unbeaten streaks. Eastern, whose program holds the all-time field hockey record with 153 games without a loss, is currently sitting on a 104-game streak. McDonogh’s current winning streak in lacrosse is 133.

Both teams are unafraid of meeting the best on the field of play. McDonogh has taken on Alexandria Bishop Ireton (Va.), Vero Beach (Fla.), and Milton (Ga.) this season; Eastern last year scheduled the likes of Newtown Square Episcopal Academy (Pa.), Kingston Wyoming Seminary (Pa.), and Louisville Sacred Heart (Ky.).

What both teams do very well is find the extra gear in “lose-and-go-home” situations. Eastern has lost only two postseason games in the last 16 years; both in the Tournament of Champions. McDonogh has not lost a postseason game in seven years. The will to win manifests itself in situations like this.

In 2010, Eastern’s field hockey team, playing off the back foot all game long, was down a goal to Sewell Washington Township (N.J.) with the game clock ticking down under two minutes before Eastern scored two at the death to win the Group IV South bracket. Sunday, McDonogh came from four goals down in the second half to win in the final five seconds of play.

Both teams are likely to be remembered in the pantheon of amongst the best field hockey and lacrosse teams ever assembled. But both also know that the comparisons are relative to the efforts that the young women wearing the same uniforms have put forth on past teams.

To have, in these two separate stick-and-ball games, these two groups of young women with the same kind of laser-focus, will to win, and unwillingness to accept losing, is absolutely magnificent.

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