In one 10-minute period, a McDonogh rocket shot clanked off the post and two more were cleared off the line by alert defenders.
The flurry that went for naught late in the first half of a scoreless game would have left some teams feeling frustrated going into the second half.
But the No. 1 Eagles girls soccer team — challenged early by No. 3 River Hill on Saturday — remained poised and confident.
The Eagles continued to pressure the Hawks' defense and their effort was rewarded with second-half goals from seniors Casey Martinez and Anna Bialczak, helping McDonogh to a well-earned, 2-0 victory over the visiting Hawks.
McDonogh improves to 8-1-1 on the season, while River Hill falls to 5-3.
At halftime, the Eagles decided to move Bialczak up to forward and talked about keeping up the pace offensively.
Martinez said the team "really stayed patient and kept our cool during halftime."
"[We] talked about how we need to play combos and keep continuing to go at them as hard as we could, especially because of the score, and to wait for our opportunities knowing they would definitely come," she said.
In the 55th minute, the Eagles earned a penalty kick when a River Hill defender was called for a hand ball after getting in front of a shot. Martinez placed a firm shot to the left side that River Hill goalie Julia Caine (13 saves) got a hand on, but couldn't keep out of the net.
The Eagles made it 2-0 a couple minutes later when Bialczak finished on a shot from 14 yards after receiving a square pass from Bridgette Andrzejewski.
"For me, that's what I credit my team for — being patient and not getting frustrated after the first half," McDonogh coach Harry Canellakis said. "I felt like we played well enough to be up a couple of goals, but it didn't happen. But then they came out in the second half and did what we needed to do."
The Hawks had some good possessions in the first half to create some scoring chances, but weren't able to break through. The Eagles then took control the game after after halftime.
Caine was strong in goal and the Hawks also got fine play from central defender Callie Allen.
"I thought we competed well and had a few opportunities that, if we got over the hump, it may have been a different game, but it's OK," River Hill coach Brian Song said. "[McDonogh] made some nice shots, but they were off our mistakes. I think they could have scored some more goals, but ... [Caine] had a great game."
1 McDonogh 2, 3 River Hill 0
Goals: M – Martinez, Bialczak
Assists: M -- Andrzejewski
Saves: RH – Caines 13; M – Donovan 2, Clark 1