Early Wednesday, Notre Dame Prep junior Nathalie Friedman was selected as an alternate to the United States Women’s National Indoor Field Hockey Team. By later in the afternoon, the talented midfielder had helped her team accomplish something she considered equally important.
The Wake Forest-bound Friedman scored one of the Blazers' three unanswered goals as No. 5 NDP dominated the second half in a 3-1 win over host No. 4 McDonogh, avenging its last-second loss in last year's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title game.
"That was the only thing on our minds today," said Friedman, who could compete for the Americans at the Pan American Cup in Georgetown, Guyana, a six-day event beginning Oct. 16, if another player can’t make the trip. "We were so ready for this game to get revenge for last year."
Despite losing 12 players to graduation, Notre Dame Prep (9-0 overall, 5-0 league) has outscored opponents 39-4, including wins over Garrison Forest, Archbishop Spalding and McDonogh, who have accounted for the past seven A Conference championships.
After trailing by one early, the Blazers tied the game on a goal by senior Sam Nason off a feed from junior Rachel Borzymowski late in the first half, then took the lead when sophomore Meredith Medvetz scored unassisted off a restart with 20:59 to play.
Friedman then added an insurance goal on a hard shot from the top of the circle with 12:31 left.
Notre Dame Prep controlled play after halftime, taking the first seven corners of the half and holding the Eagles without a shot for the first 15 minutes.
"I think we just came out a little stronger," Friedman said. "We realized that we just really wanted this game. We put things into gear and got it done."
McDonogh (4-1, 2-1), which before Wednesday had allowed just one goal all season, was playing its second game without top offensive threat Katelyn Whittle, who will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a broken jaw last week after taking a stick to the face against Hereford.
Eagles coach Denise Wolf said she's looking for other players to step up in Whittle’s absence.
"We have been working all week trying to figure out who was going to play that position," Wolf said. "We're trying two different people up there. I think you could see our girls were just gun shy, and it's understandable. I get it — seeing a player go down like that and the injury she has. So we're tying to replace her, and we need to work on our middle-of-the-field game. We are not transitioning well. We can't get it from our defense and our middies up to the front line."
The Blazers took 12 corners to McDonogh’s one, keeping the short-handed Eagles on the run on a particularly warm day.
"They ran circles around us," Wolf said. "Stamina-wise, we're hurting."
For NDP, the win helped heal some of the deep wounds left from a 1-0 loss to McDonogh in last November's title game at Stevenson. The Eagles pulled out that game by scoring on an untimed penalty corner after time expired.
"It was on all of our minds. I have PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] from it. That's a hard way to go down in the championship game for a team that was really strong and really wanted it," Blazers coach Katrina Ross said. "We talked about it before the game. We just kind of closed our eyes and did some visualization. We tried to take ourselves back to that and talk about how we felt and what we needed to do today to get past that and move beyond it."
Goals: NDP—Nason, Medvetz, Friedman; M—Cunneen. Assists: NDP—Borzymowski; M—Wolf. Saves: NDP—Dennis 4; M—Geoghan 9. Half: Tied, 1-1.