When McDonogh stepped onto Marriotts Ridge’s turf Saturday morning, the Mustangs did not waver in confidence. Heading into the matchup, Marriotts Ridge carried the momentum of an 11-game winning streak, determined to show its own prowess as a program and give the Eagles a tight game.
McDonogh ultimately walked away with its 151st consecutive win, but the Mustangs made them earn it, playing tough through the full 50 minutes.
“I am so proud in every single one of them, from offensively, defensively, even on the draw circle,” said Marriotts Ridge coach Amanda Brady after suffering the, 13-8 loss. “We knew it was going to be a battle of possession and they took care of coming up with those draws in some moments and when we had the chance, opportunities were there. I’m proud of them for fighting until the very end and not giving up. I mean, heck, McDonogh decided to stall at 10 minutes. It’s really difficult and they came up with it three or four times. I am so proud of them, hats off to my defense, but most importantly it was a team effort even down to the bench, believing in their teammates and that was awesome.”
The Mustangs defense was outstanding throughout the contest, however, McDonogh (11-0) opened up with the game’s first goal about five minutes in. Rachel Anderson finished her first of the day, giving the Eagles the early 1-0 lead, but Marriotts Ridge (11-1) quickly countered, getting a good defensive stand after McDonogh won the ensuing draw. Caroline Blalock took advantage on the offensive end finding her way through the fan and finishing her only goal of the game to knot the score up at one.
Blalock has been a key contributor all season for the Mustangs and as close-knit as Marriotts Ridge is, it affected its momentum when Blalock went down after a collision with a McDonogh player on the defensive end. Blalock, with her twin sister Sarah by her side, was attending to what looked like an injured ankle and needed to be helped off the field. She did not reenter the game.
Her absence hindered the Mustangs momentum and the Eagles took advantage.
“I think as soon as that happened it did knock us off our game a little bit,” Brady said. “They clearly were concerned. They love each other. She has a twin sister, (Sarah) I’m sure was upset, but you know what, we were not expecting that to get thrown at us. No one expects an injury and I’m really proud that they bounced back from it though.”
The Eagles clung onto a 2-1 advantage at that point with about 13 minutes left in the half, but proceeded on a 4-0 run following the injury to Blalock. A big reason was McDonogh’s dominance on the draws. Maddie Jenner did an excellent job for the Eagles, as they won 14 throughout the game, with Jenner collecting seven.
Lexi Souder put an end to the McDonogh run, getting it done on both ends of the field for the Mustangs. On the defensive end she picked off a pass and took it the other way, starting her team in transition. She then hustled down and put away a pass from Lily Kennedy with 2:53 remaining to cut the score, 6-2. However, with 12.3 seconds left before the break, Anderson put the Eagles back up by five, finishing off a feed from Brindi Giffin.
“We talked about 7-2, and we are going to start off 0-0. It’s a new half,” Brady explained. “We were done with the fact that we just lost Caroline, you know, difficult, but I told them to erase that mentally and really get out there and play. And they fought for the draw controls at that point and I thought that was the turning point. We were coming up with the draw controls, possession was in our sticks, although not as much as it was in McDonogh’s stick, but that’s what lacrosse is, a game of possession.”
Marriotts Ridge brushed itself off in the following 25 minutes and rallied to get back within three.
Catie May and Anderson started the half with back-to-back goals to give the Eagles their largest lead of the game at 9-2, but the Mustangs countered with a 4-0 run in the following 10 minutes.
Lower started off the surge, taking advantage of a Marriotts Ridge win off the draw and finishing on the other end. Two minutes later, Caitlin Ohmnacht fed Souder inside, beating the Eagles Gabby Cadoux for her second of the game. The Mustangs then won back-to-back draws and capitalized with two free positions from Hayleigh Simpson and Souder, respectively, cutting the score, 9-6 with 19 minutes left in regulation.
But that was the closest the Mustangs would get. McDonogh tacked on two more goals and with the four-point lead spread things out and stalled for the last 10 minutes. Marriotts Ridge managed to net two more goals late, but couldn’t come up with enough possessions down the stretch to climb closer to the lead.
“I think we just really fought hard for those 50-50 balls and that’s something that we need to continue during next week when we play Glenelg and Hebron and off in the playoffs,” said Souder. “That’s what we really have to focus on, because that’s kind of where we lost it. McDonogh got a lot of the draw controls and that’s what made the game go their way.”
Souder led the Mustangs with three goals, while Kennedy followed with one goal and one assist. In net, freshman Olivia Ranta played admirably and finished with four saves.
May and Anderson led the Eagles offensively, finishing with four and three goals, respectively, while in net, Cadoux registered three saves.
Familiarity between the two teams made the game’s intensity that much higher Saturday, as most of the Eagles and Mustangs play together on their respective club teams. The same goes for the coaches, as Eagles coach Chris Robinson, Brady and Marriotts Ridge assistant Katie Lettinga all coach at M&D, so there were no surprises heading into the matchup.
“They’re good, there is a reason why they’re undefeated and I think they battled hard, but we really played a great game,” Robinson said. “Coming out here off a game yesterday afternoon, coming out here early in the morning, it’s tough because every time we come out we get everyone’s best effort. Marriotts Ridge has been preparing for us for 15 months. We literally had 15 minutes to prepare for them.
“(We expected) exactly what we got, a lot of speed, very solid across the board, well coached – they weren’t going to quit. Last year we were up on them big and they came back and stormed back in the second half like that. So it went descript, as far as I thought. We were going to play tough. And we know a lot of those kids, almost every one of those kids plays club for the club that I run. So I know them all and the coaches work with me, both Amanda and Katie, so we’re very familiar with one another, so there weren’t really many surprises.”
Souder had an outstanding game, not only playing well offensively, but also causing a few turnovers on the defensive side as well. It was a fun afternoon for the senior, who got to play against one of her closest friends in Cadoux.
“Gabby Cadoux is one of my best friends, so scoring on her was – it was so nice. I loved it,” Souder said. “I was just so pumped. This was one of our best games of the season and I think we had that momentum going into this game and obviously it shifted throughout the game.”
Souder believes if the Mustangs can carry their momentum that came with against the Eagles into their final two games against the Vikings and Gladiators, and then into postseason play, they will have a good shot at a coveted title run.
“Definitely, yes,” she said. “We just got to work on these draw controls, working on boxing out, but if we keep this intensity I think we can go far.”
McDonogh 13 (11-0), Marriotts Ridge (11-1) 8 (Saturday, April 30)
Goals: M – May 4, Anderson 3, Aldave 2, Kessler 1, Jenner 1, Buchanan 1, Robinson 1; MR – Souder 3, Simpson 1, S. Blalock 1, C. Blalock 1, Lower 1, Kennedy 1.
Assists: Mc – Griffin 2, Aldave 1; MR – Kennedy 1, Miller 1, Ohmnacht 1.
Saves: Mc – Cadoux 3; MR – Ranta 4.
Halftime: 7-2 McDonogh.
Glenelg (10-2) 9, C.M Wright 8 (Saturday, April 30)
The Gladiators picked up two more wins in the past 24 hours, defeating the visiting Hawks on Senior Night and then capping off Saturday with a one-point win over the hosting Mustangs.
Against C.M Wright Saturday, Glenelg held a 5-3 halftime lead and went back and forth with the Mustangs in the following 25 minutes before closing out with the, 9-8 victory. It marked the ninth game this season where the Gladiators conceded just eight goals or less.
Alayna Pagnotta led the way offensively, as the junior attacker netted four goals in the game, while also registering one assist. Senior Julia Salandra and junior Lindsay LeTellier followed, as they tallied one goal and two assists apiece. Sophomore Maddie McSally made five saves in net for Glenelg.
On Friday the Gladiators honored seniors, Maisy Haney, Monica Chaisson, Caroline Esmond, Salandra and Sammi Pearce before the game.
Haney and Salandra tallied one goal in the outing, while Salandra also picked up one assist in the, 15-4 victory.
Glenelg finishes out its regular season with games against Marriotts Ridge Tuesday and Reservoir Friday.
Goals: G – Pagnotta 4, Scheinberg 1, Renehan 1, Salandra 1, Giampalmo 1, LeTellier 1; CMW – Little 2, Snee 2, Sneider 1, Landsman 1, Afonie 1, Will 1.
Assists: G – LeTellier 2, Salandra 2, Pagnotta 1; CMW – Little 1, Landsman 1, Will 1.
Saves: G – McSally 5; CMW – Miller 5, Graham 5.
Halftime: 5-3 Glenelg.
Glenelg 15, River Hill (3-8) 4 (Friday, April 29)
Goals: G – LeTellier 3, Giampalmo 2, Renehan 2, Stone 2, Haney 1, Scheinberg 1, G. Esmond 1, Callahan 1, Salandra 1, Pagnotta 1; RH – Caprara 1, Caddigan 1, Thelemann 1, Hamburger 1.
Assists: G – G. Esmond 3, Stone 1, Salandra 1, Pagnotta 1.
Saves: G – McSally 3; Maloney 10.
Halftime: 6-2 Glenelg.