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Archive for May 13, 2017

May 13, 2017 — •177

This evening, the crowd at Severn Archbishop Spalding (Md.) was trying to rally the No. 2 seed in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland’s girls’ lacrosse tournament, the Blazers of Towson Notre Dame Prep (Md.). They had just scored their ninth goal of the evening against eight-time IAAM champion Owings Mills McDonogh (Md.) and were maybe ready to make a late scoring run.

All of that optimism was erased in one flick of Maddie Jenner’s stick. In a sequence worthy of Hall-of-Famer Quinn Carney, she won the draw about 10 feet high, settled her stick under the ball at its apex, and cradled it out of the center circle. McDonogh would never let Notre Dame Prep see the ball again.

The final was 12-9 in favor of McDonogh, and it was the 177th straight win for the nation’s lacrosse powerhouse. But the way that McDonogh was able to win games this year makes you wonder if the number of the winning streaks needs to be marked in the way that hit records were denoted on music sales charts. In other words, McDonogh’s win streak is 177 with a bullet.

After all, the Eagles were able to overcome an incredibly competitive and compressed in-season schedule. As has been the case in the past, McDonogh started with three top opponents on the road in Florida, then completed its final 19 fixtures in about 33 days.

This year, Notre Dame Prep repeatedly gave the Eagles all they could handle — not only in this year’s final, but in a 9-4 defeat earlier in the season.

But in the end, the team game that McDonogh has played to an unbelievable degree over the last nine years was on show once again. The Eagles won draws, found open players on the attack, played excellent trail and close defense.

It was business as usual for the Eagles, but this year, there was a little bit extra. It is tempting to compare this team to the McDonogh teams of six or seven years ago, led by Jen Cook, Taylor Cummings, and Megan Whittle.

Such is the intergenerational excellence of this program, when a team is so good that a rival can only be ginned up in a mind exercise.

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