McDonogh turned the ball over on its first three possessions against visiting Notre Dame Prep on Wednesday, then quickly settled down and blew out the Blazers in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference matchup.
The top-ranked Eagles reeled off six unanswered goals in just under four minutes after the shaky start, then added four more in just over two minutes during a 15-goal first half in a 21-14 victory over No. 3 Notre Dame Prep.
The goals came fast and in bunches for McDonogh (10-0, 7-0) which scored its 101st consecutive victory in this game. Anne Smith got the first goal with 22:13 left in the first half, and the Eagles scored five more in the next three minutes, 55 seconds for a 6-0 lead.
McDonogh's next run was the four-goal streak in just 2:14 that gave the team a 10-1 lead with 11:13 left remaining in the half. Those two runs removed most of the suspense and helped the Eagles to a 15-5 halftime lead.
"If you give them one thing, it will multiply exponentially," Notre Dame Prep co-coach Mary Bartel said. "Our defense could not stop it. We could not stop the bleeding."
What made it tougher for Notre Dame Prep (6-3, 6-2) was that McDonogh got goals from so many players. Olivia Jenner (four goals, one assist), Kelsey Cummings (two goals, six assists), Savannah Buchanan (three goals, one assist), Andie Aldave (two goals, two assists) and Brindi Griffin (two goals, two assists) paced an offense that saw 10 players score goals.
The Eagles really turned it around after the slow start. They gave the Blazers some good scoring chances with the turnnovers on those first three possessions. Notre Dame Prep had one early goal waived off, and McDonogh's offense slowly settled into a rhythm after that.
Once the Eagles got going, they repeatedly made good passes that set up high-percentage scoring chances. The Blazers used three goalies, and they finished with only two saves overall as the McDonogh offense often got shots that were too tough to stop.
"I think … we just settled down on offense," Jenner said. "We were just a little panicky at [first]."
The Eagles also got some help early from goalie Gabby Cadoux. She made a few good saves in the opening minutes and posted eight of her 11 stops in the first half.
McDonogh coach Chris Robinson liked how his defense played and the way it helped Cadoux. The Blazers got their shots, but they often were forced into ones that weren't close due to the swarming McDonogh defense, and Cadoux's early saves helped the Eagles slowly take over.
"We've got to take everyone's best punch," Robinson said. "It's tough when everyone's got us circled on the schedule. We started off slowly, but then we went on a great run."
The Blazers did better in the second half. Mae Tarr (four goals) and Caroline Drusano (two goals, four assists) sparked their offense as Notre Dame Prep scored the game's final four goals.
But they couldn't stop the McDonogh offense — specifically its passing. The Eagles had assists on 14 of their 21 goals and repeatedly found the right shots. They stayed patient moving the ball, made good cuts throughout and constantly created scoring chances.
McDonogh also did a good job of draw control. Jenner helped win many of the draws as the Eagles were able to keep possession for long stretches and put even more pressure to the Notre Dame Prep defense.
"We were really focused on passing and playing as a team and working the ball around," Cummings said. "When we put our minds to it and work together as a team, we can do a lot."
1 McDonogh 21, 3 Notre Dame Prep 14
Goals: N- Tarr 4, Drusano 2, Haus 2, Doyle 2, Cobb, Willis, Burns, Friedland; M-Jenner 4, Buchanan 3, Smith 2, Griffin 2, McCoy 2, Cummings 2, Aldave 2, Whittle 2, George, Alecce. Assists: N- Drusano 4, Friedland; M- Cummings 6, Griffin 2, Aldave 2, Jenner, May, George, Buchanan. Saves: N- Darlington 0, Aburn 1, Schaefer 1; M—Cadoux 11, Ansell 2. Half: M, 15-5.