McDonogh's Miranda McCoy said her No. 1 Eagles learned an important lesson in Monday's scare at No. 5 Century — they don't want to get off to a slow start.
The Eagles applied that lesson in Thursday's clash of the area's only two undefeated girls lacrosse teams, scoring three goals in the first two and a half minutes to spark a 19-9 victory over No. 6 Marriotts Ridge for their 88th straight victory.
Those three early goals from Megan Whittle, Casey Black and Grace Muller were the opposite of what happened Monday at Century, when the Knights scored the first three goals and the Eagles had to rally for a 10-7 win.
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McDonogh School, Owings Mills, MD 21117, USA
"We came out flat mentally against Century," McCoy said. "We were just flat for the first 15 minutes, so we had to mentally wake up and get ourselves in the game. We learned to always come out mentally prepared."
The host Eagles (19-0) didn't sleep through any part of the Thursday's game. They knew the Mustangs (12-1) would not give up after McDonogh's early lead.
Adding a little more intensity to the game, many players on the teams knew each other from club lacrosse, with some of the Eagles hailing from Howard County and six of the Mustangs playing on McDonogh coach Chris Robinson's M&D Lacrosse club team.
After McCoy scored to give the Eagles a 5-1 lead midway through the first half, the Mustangs matched them goal-for-goal for the next seven minutes.
Taylor Hensh scored on a free position before McCoy answered. Hensh then fed Zoe Stukenberg before Sammie Burgess gave McDonogh a 7-3 lead. Stukenberg brought the Mustangs as close as they would get, within 7-4, with 8:30 remaining in the half.
By halftime, it was 15-6. The Eagles reeled off four straight goals — from Whittle, Burgess, McCoy and Posey Valis — and finished the half on an 8-2 run. The Mustangs never got closer than within eight.
"First of all, they just have a lot of depth," Hensh said. "They have so many legs, it's ridiculous. We're out there the whole game running and they're continuously subbing in and out and that's a big difference."
Eight Eagles scored, led by Whittle with five goals, Burgess with four and McCoy with three. Stukenberg and Marissa Davey had three each for the Mustangs. Marriotts Ridge goalie Rachel Ortell finished with 10 saves, including three terrific ones in the opening minutes to keep the game as close as it was.
For the Eagles, who tested themselves against national powers from Florida and Georgia at the beginning of the season and finished unbeaten in the tough Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference, the chance to play two of the area's top three public schools teams, was a great way to polish off the regular season.
"Scheduling two excellent teams at the end of the season — state championship teams — our goal is to win the IAAM championship, so if we can expose some weaknesses late in the season by playing teams like that, it's a great way to go into the playoffs," Robinson said.
The Eagles begin A Conference tournament action at home Monday against the winner of Thursday's opening-round game between No. 13 Mount de Sales and No. 14 Archbishop Spalding.
The Mustangs have one regular-season game left at Wilde Lake on Friday before heading into the regional playoffs next week.
Goals: MR—Z.Stukenberg 3, Davey 3, Hensh 2, Kerr; MCD—Whittle 5, Burgess 4, McCoy 3, Black 2, Muller 2, Valis, George, Huther. Assists: MR—Z.Stukenberg, Hensh, Brooks; MCD—Valis, Burgess, Black. Saves: MR—Ortell 10; MCD—Silbert 4, Cadoux 2. Half: MCD, 15-6.