The No. 1 McDonogh girls soccer team came to No. 5 Mercy on Monday ready to work.
The Eagles' tireless energy mixed in with their high skill level proved to be to much for the Magic, turning a highly-anticipated Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference showdown into a stunningly comfortable 4-0 win for the visitors.
Senior forward Taylor Cummings scored twice and added an assist; and midfielders Ashley Spivey and Anna Bialczak both contributed a goal and an assist as McDonogh improved to 11-2 overall and 6-0 atop the IAAM. Mercy, which fell to Archbishop Spalding, 3-0, last week, falls to 8-2-1 and 3-2-1 in league play.
The Eagles were a step quicker from the start and never let up, scoring two goals in each half for the complete team win.
"Every [part of our team] played really well," said Cummings, who scored both first half goals. "Our goal is always to peak right around the time before playoffs and we've been able to do that. We just want to keep playing the best soccer we can possibly play and hopefully it will progress over into playoffs."
Cummings' second goal — coming with 8:10 left until intermission — best summed up how the game went. Spivey didn't give up on a ball in the left corner, taking it away from a defender and then sending a cross to the far post that Cummings beat everybody else to for the 2-0 advantage. The Eagles were never challenged in the second half, with Bialczak making it 3-0 before Spivey added a late goal.
"When the girls work this hard they're definitely hard to beat because we've got dynamic players up front that can get us goals," McDonogh coach Harry Canellakis said. "And so if we're organized defensively that's a powerful combination. But I think the girls know — especially at this stage of the season — if you're not playing at your best you're always in danger of an upset."
The Magic got a strong all-around effort from senior Alexis Prior-Brown and a gutsy performance in goal from senior Rachel Bourne (six saves), but are hoping to get back on track with the playoffs fast approaching.
"I think the biggest difference in the first half was a couple of our players were a little timid. Both goals basically should have been cleared out, but we were a little nervous. They're good and they're strong and they're fast and if you do that, they will pounce on things," Mercy coach Doug Pryor said. "We can play with these teams, but if you play timid they're going to wear you out."
1 McDonogh 4, 5 Mercy 0
Goals: Mc – Cummings 2, Spivey, Bialczak.
Assists: Mc – Spivey, Bialczak, Cummings.
Saves: Mc., Ruhl 4; Me., Bourne 6.
Half: Mc, 2-0Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun