The No. 1 McDonogh girls soccer team did many things right in the first half of its game against No. 10 Severna Park on Monday, but only had one goal to show for it.
Casey Martinez made sure that would quickly change when the second half came around.
The junior midfielder scored three times in the first 14 minutes and her teammates followed her assertive lead as the Eagles came away with a 6-0 win over the Falcons at Anne Arundel Community College's annual Pioneer Shootout.
Opening the season with a 2-0 win over No. 8 South River in Saturday's tournament opener, the two-time defending Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champions have clearly picked up where they left off last year.
Monday's dominating second half showed just that.
"We've been working really hard on our energy and wanted to come out fast [in the second half] and we did that. We gave it our all and it showed — we were on fire," Martinez said.
Quick to the ball and creating plenty of chances with solid build up in the first half, the Eagles took a 1-0 lead 10 minutes in when junior midfielder Anna Bialczak finished off a corner kick sent in by Martinez.
But some sturdy defense from the Falcons kept the game at 1-0 at the intermission, only to see Martinez and Co. make better use of scoring chances in the second 40 minutes. After freshman Bridgette Andrzejewski was taken down from behind in the penalty area two minutes into the half, Martinez neatly slotted a right-foot penalty corner to the left corner for a 2-0 advantage.
After Andrzejewski made it 3-0 a minute later, Martinez had two nifty finishes with her left foot for a 5-0 lead. Freshman Kia Rankin added a late goal to close out the scoring.
"That was the obvious message at halftime — we needed to be more aggressive in the attacking third," McDonogh coach Harry Canellakis said. "We possessed the ball well — and that was the goal for us and I thought our shape was good — and then in the second half we were able to put the final piece in which was being more aggressive in the final third."
The young Falcons, who have eight new starters including three sophomores and two freshmen, had a tough opening assignment with their tournament opener against No. 14 Severn postponed Friday because of the weather. Despite the setback, Severna Park coach Todd Clark saw positive things to build on.
"I think defensively in the first half we did a good job," he said. "But unfortunately we had a lot of opportunities to defend because we gave the ball away too much. Some of the things we can take away from this is when we play against good teams, you can't play kick and run, you have to be able to possess the ball, let your team build, get a breath and move forward."
No. 8 South River 2, No. 14 Severn 1 (OT): Junior forward Kristin Marsh finished off a ball sent in by Ashleigh Hill with one minute left in the first 10-minute overtime session to give the Seahawks a well-earned win.
South River controlled the first half and took a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute on a goal from Kacie Longo, but the Admirals answered when Morgan Kontor scored on a penalty kick seven minutes into the second half on their first shot on goal. The Seahawks (1-1) continued to create more scoring chances, but a strong defensive effort from Severn (0-1) kept the game tied until Marsh was able to get behind the defense and score from in close for the game-winner.
"We talked right before the overtime about playing balls over the top and sure enough we were able to play one over the top and got one," South River coach John Sis said. "We need to have a little better responsibility on our finishing. We had a ton of opportunities and we need to finish those, but credit Severn — they held in."
AACC Pioneer Shootout
1 McDonogh 6, 10 Severna Park 0
Goals: M – Martinez 3, Bialczak, Andrzejewski, Rankin.
Assists: M – Martinez Rankin.
Saves: M -- Lynne 2, Preas 1; SP – Vanderkolk 5, Murphy 6
Half: M, 1-0.
8 South River 2, 14 Severn 1 (OT)
Goals: SR – Marsh, Longo; S -- Kontor
Assists: SR – Petty, Hill
Saves: SR – Proctor 0, Carter 2; S – Gibbons 6, Hightower 5
Half: SR, 1-0