Trying to stay with the pace the McDonogh girls soccer team brings to the field is a daunting challenge.
Surrender an early goal to the No. 1 Eagles — like No. 5 Notre Dame Prep did Friday — and the task often becomes too difficult to overcome.
Fueled by freshman Bridgette Andrzejewski's finish three minutes into the game, the host Eagles played with precision and confidence in earning a 7-0 win over the Blazers.
Andrzejewski finished with three goals to lead the Eagles, who also got goals from Casey Martinez, Kia Rankin, Kyla Clark and Anna Bialczak. McDonogh improves to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's A Conference. The two-time defending league champions were faster to the ball, quick to connect passes and poised in finishing off scoring chances.
"If we come out hard and intense like we always want to, I think it really boosts our confidence and we play a lot better," said Bialczak, a junior midfielder. "I have to give a lot to Bridgette and Casey — they worked really hard up top today. The way they've been making their runs and making space for each other has been great."
The early-season math indicates the rest of the IAAM will have to catch up with the Eagles. The Blazers (4-1-1, 2-1-1) came into the game with an impressive 1-0 win over No. 7 John Carroll and a 1-1 tie against No. 2 Archbishop Spalding, but couldn't match McDonogh's level of play despite their all-out effort. Junior goalie Victoria Gabor enjoyed a fine performance with 12 saves.
"McDonogh is built to be a powerhouse. I think we have to come in next time with a clear idea what we want to do on defense," Notre Dame Prep coach Chris Lopez said. "Our girls didn't give up. They stayed with it throughout and it's really what we need in a game like this. As soon as it got to be as one-sided as it did, then you're just looking at where's our heart and can we stay with it. That's what's going to help us in the other games."
1 McDonogh 7, 6 Notre Dame Prep 0
Goals: M – Andrzejewski 3, Martinez, Rankin, Clark, Bialczak
Assists: M – Horne 2, Jenner, Martinez, Steigerwald
Saves: NDP – Gabor 12; M – L. Clark 2, Preas 1.
Half: M, 4-0