McDonogh's top-ranked girls lacrosse team avoided the late-season trap No. 3 Century hoped to spring Monday by building a substantial lead and holding off the Knights when their offense finally heated up.
The host Eagles (15-0) finished the regular season with their 66th straight win, dealing the perennial Carroll County power its first loss, 15-8. They ran up a 15-4 lead and held off a furious rally in which the Knights scored four goals within three minutes.
"Coming off the games last week — five games in seven days — and prom, this definitely was a trap game for us," Eagles midfielder Taylor Cummings said, "so we knew we couldn't overlook them. We knew how explosive a team they were and I think we were lucky that it happened so late in the game."
Cummings, last season's All-Metro Player of the Year, sparked the Eagles' initial burst, scoring the first two goals and assisting Grace Muller for the third. The Knights tied the game at 1 on Sky Hyatt's goal and were within 4-2 when Haley Bordner fed Alice Mercer seven-and-a-half minutes into the game.
Although both teams entered the game averaging about 18.5 goals, the Eagles defense held Century to four goals in the first 44 minutes. The Knights could not contain a McDonogh offense that got four goals and two assists from Cummings and three goals each from Sam Burgess and Megan Whittle. The Eagles scored 10 of the next 12 goals and held a 15-4 lead with six minutes to go.
The Knights (12-1) missed several early opportunities and Eagles goalie Katie Ferraro set the tone with a save on Angela Flister in the first two minutes. Ferraro, who finished with 11 saves, had eight in the second half as the defense held off a couple of early Knights surges when McDonogh turned over the ball and didn't generate any offense for nearly five minutes.
With 12:29 to go, Cummings fed Corinne Etchison for a 15-4 lead, but the Knights had the better of play after that and took the last six shots.
Bordner fed Flister for a goal with 5:52 to go. Flister took a hard check on the shot and that – plus winning four straight draws -- helped spark the Knights offense. Mercer scored an extra-man goal and added another to pull within 15-7 with 3:50 left. Flister nailed a free-position goal a minute later to pull within seven – the closest any team has come to the Eagles, who are ranked No. 1 in the country in the ESPN Fab 50.
The Knights, No. 8 in last week's Fab 50, outshot the Eagles, 14-10, in the second half but didn't get many high-quality shots against a double-teaming defense that squeezed any player with the ball.
"We had so much less time shoot," said Mercer, who finished with four goals. "In all the other games we've played, I feel like we've had time to make our shots pretty or place them, but here with their defense on you so tight, you had a split second. If you didn't take it, you didn't have it anymore."
While the Knights finish their regular season Thursday night at Westminster, the Eagles move on to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland tournament quarterfinals May 8 as they aim for their fourth straight A Conference championship.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun