A 22-0 season. A 177-game winning streak. Eight straight undefeated seasons. Nine straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championships.
The unmatched legacy of McDonogh's No. 1 girls lacrosse team rolled through another year as the Eagles put the perfect touch on 2017 with a 12-9 victory over No. 3 Notre Dame Prep in Saturday night's A Conference championship at Archbishop Spalding.
"I was watching the clock tick down from 30 seconds, just kind of thinking, 'Wow. This is it, the last 30 seconds I'll ever wear this jersey," Eagles senior Andie Aldave said. "Just really an incredible feeling. You couldn't ask for more from this team. Coach Chris (Robinson) called us warriors and I think you saw that today ... such a team win."
The Eagles are sure to retain their No. 1 national ranking for the eighth straight year after fighting off a host of top-notch challengers from Florida to Canada this spring.
The Blazers (20-3) gave McDonogh two of its toughest games, falling 9-4 during the regular season on April 27, but they just couldn't match Eagles center Maddie Jenner on the draw.
The junior won 14 draws and helped the Eagles to a 20-3 advantage in draw controls. NDP didn't win a single draw in the first half, which Aldave said had not happened all season although the Eagles have won the vast majority of draw controls.
"The bottom line was the difference in the draw control," said NDP coach Mac Ford, whose team fought aggressively on both ends of the field. "She's the most dominating player in high school lacrosse that I've seen. Whoever had her on their team was going to win. Our girls were very bit as good and if we had the ball a little bit more it might have been a different story."
The Eagles, led by three goals each from Jenner and Julia Hoffman, trailed by one in the first half but ran their lead to 10-4 on Hoffman's free-position goal with 9:32 left in the game. The Eagles cut it three goals twice, but each time Jenner won the next draw and McDonogh's offense was able to take time off the clock.
"Maddie's unbelievable. I wish she was coming to Notre Dame with me," Aldave said. "She's just so quick and so tall. She knows what she's doing and I think today you really saw how NDP tried to shove three or four girls against her and she was still winning them."
When Jenner didn't get them, Aldave and Blair Pearre usually won the ball on the ground.
"We were really quick on the circle, so when it does go there, we're normally the first ones there," Jenner said. "Andie's great at boxing out, because sometimes the (opponent's) technique is to try to crash my stick and then you just try to be quick to get it up in the air. The whole mentality knowing the main part of the game is to get the draws and the ground balls, you know that it's just that emphasis."
Just as in the regular-season game, the Blazers had a one-goal lead late in the first half, but the Eagles again answered with a scoring run. They netted four straight goals to take a 7-3 lead on Jenner's free-position shot with 19:44 left in the game. McDonogh led the rest of the game.
The Blazers played aggressively on defense, forcing many of the Eagles' 15 turnovers, but they didn't turn into enough offensive opportunities as McDonogh outshot NDP, 21-13.
Notre Dame Prep cut the lead to three three times, twice in the final six minutes. The Eagles top offensive threat Hannah Mardiney, who was held to one assist in the first meeting, scored to cut the lead to 10-7 with 6:01 left.
Jenner won the next draw and fed Emma Schettig. She won the draw after that and Hoffman scored to push the lead to 12-7 with 4:29 to go. Back-to-back goals from Caitlyn Mossman, who led the Blazers with four, brought NDP within 12-9 with 3:07 left, but Jenner won the next draw and the Eagles were able to stall.
"I'm very proud of my girls," said NDP coach Mac Ford. "We were playing great defense. We were causing turnovers, on offense we felt like we could score and we did when we go the ball."
NDP, which lost only to McDonogh and No. 2 Glenelg, is ranked No. 3 in USA Today's Super 25 and No. 5 in the Nike/US Lacrosse High School Girls' National Top 25.
The Eagles, however, defeated many of the local teams that were in and out of the national polls. They celebrated their championship like they hadn't celebrated all season.
"We have been so good for so long," Robinson said. "We push the envelope in women's lacrosse on the high school level and I think we got the team to a certain level where we've accelarated the game and teams like NDP or Glenelg Country or some of these other schools are doing the same, so when we faced NPD tonight — and they had 31 Division I athletes on that team — to beat a team like that is an amazing celebratory thing for our kids. Everybody just thinks we're a machine or whatever, but we're humans and that NDP team is as talented as any high school team I've ever seen and they're pushing the envelope of women's lacrosse also."
The Eagles, who won every draw in the first half, jumped out to a 3-0 lead against an aggressive NDP zone defense. Andie Aldave, Jenner and Julia Hoffman scored on the first three McDonogh shots.
But the Eagles turned the ball over nine times in the half and the Blazers took advantage of four of them to match the opening salvo and then some.
Caitlyn Mossman, who did not score a point in the regular-season meeting, scored first followed by Gil Eby and Katie Railey, whose free-position goal tied the game at 3 with 8:01 left.
After McDonogh was called for a charge -- its fourth straight turnover in its attacking end -- Mossman fed Grace Haus for a 4-3 lead with 5:24 left. The lead would last just 43 seconds.
Robinson called a timeout and his team responded with another three-goal run. This one took less than two minutes. Jenner pushed the lead to 6-3 when she got crunched in the middle of three defenders and turned and shot with 2:54 left in the half.
B Conference: With her Mercy team trailing late in the first half, Ada Clare Tempert sparked the Magic on a seven-goal run that drove a 13-7victory over Friends for the B Conference championship.
Tempert, a sophomore midfielder, finished with six goals and an assist but her five points during the seven-goal run set the top-seeded Magic up for their first lacrosse championship in six years.
Early on, two goals from Charessa Crosse and one from Alex Miceli gave the Quakers a 3-2 lead, but Tempert fed Kaitlyn Kozlowski to tie the game with 6:22 left in the half. She then scored four of the next five goals, including three in the final 1:50 of the half.
Kozlowski, who finished with two goals, scored the first goal of the second half to run the top-seeded Magic (12-2) lead to 9-3.
Friends (9-6) chipped away at the lead but could get no closer than within five several times in the second half.
Crosse led the third-seeded Quakers with three goals while Carli Freeman added two.
Mercy won its second IAAM championship and its first in six years.
C Conference: Sara Morales scored five goals to lead Catholic to its first IAAM lacrosse championship, 10-6, over St. Timothy's. The Cubs (17-1) led the entire game as they finished the season with a perfect record against C Conference teams.
Olivia Tuck added two goals for the Cubs while Isabel Klose and Jen Holland scored two goals each for St. Timothy's (11-6).
1McDonogh 12, 3NDP 9
Goals: NDP--Mossman 4, Eby, Railey, Haus, L.Regan, Mardiney; M--Jenner 3, Hoffman 3, Pearre 2, Aldave 2, May, Schettig. Assists: NDP--Mossman 2, Railey, Mardiney; M--May, Robinson, Schettig, Jenner. Saves: NDP--Lowe M--Cooper. Half: M, 6-4.