For several seasons, Ellie DeGarmo had to bide her time behind one of the best goalies in the metropolitan area. Not anymore.
The senior from Homeland, who displayed unusual poise and patience as a backup to standout Molly Wolf — now a freshman mainstay between the pipes at Loyola University Maryland — for Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland power Bryn Mawr, is off to a sizzling start in her first starting role.
Even in defeat, DeGarmo is turning heads.
In a 12-7 setback to the nation's top-ranked squad, McDonogh, her 12-save performance prompted Eagles coach Chris Robinson to mutter "she's keeping them in the game" from the sideline during the game March 21.
The Princeton University recruit's follow-up 11-save effort against Notre Dame Prep on March 26 was even more effective, in that the visiting Blazers peppered the goal and still came away with only three scores after DeGarmo stopped eight shots before halftime.
Her stonewalling of a point-blank NDP shot after the intermission preserved a second-half shutout and helped cement a 13-3 victory against a team that was averaging 13 goals per game coming into the contest.
DeGarmo was quick to praise senior close defenders Linsdey DeMuth, Eliza Clemens and Liz Cahn and sophomore Alex Argo for being a part of her successful debut.
And the she also had nothing but kind words for her predecessor.
Playing behind Wolf was a good thing, said DeGarmo, who also plays soccer and ice hockey for the Mawrtians.
"It was more of a blessing than a curse," she said. "It always kept me motivated, because I knew I always had to play well in practice. I just had to keep my head up."
Bryn Mawr coach Wendy Kridel said that the wait was well worth it, for the team and for DeGarmo.
"She became the player she is because she played behind Molly," Kridel said. "She learned from her."
Kridel said she was confident DeGarmo was ready for the season.
"I knew she would do well," Kridel Added. "Ellie's not the type to get in your face, but she's a quiet leader. Now, she has the same situation as last year, because there's a junior (Maggie Kane) behind her who's also excellent."
DeGarmo's feel for the game grows with each save, sending a current of energy through the team.
"When I make a couple of saves, I get amped up," she said. "There's a ripple effect."
Her first save against NDP was a beauty, denying onrushing junior midfielder Liz Haus in transition.
It also sent a message to the Blazers that goals might be in short supply.
Notre Dame Prep coach Mary Bartel said that her team's inability to solve DeGarmo turned the tide.
"You won't win many games when you shoot 3-for-19," she said.