Archbishop Spalding junior goalkeeper Jillian Savageau did a double take when she learned how many saves she made in the No. 1 Cavaliers’ girls soccer showdown against No. 2 McDonogh on Tuesday.
The number was 18, covering 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, and each one was needed for the defending Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champions to escape with a 0-0 tie against the Eagles in a game that had championship-like intensity.
McDonogh’s persistent attack, led by junior Julia Dorsey, met Spalding’s resilient defense. But no goals were scored and that was mostly because of Savageau, who was tested regularly but didn’t budge.
The Cavaliers moved to 5-0-2 overall and 2-0-1 in the IAAM, posting their sixth shutout, while the Eagles settled at 5-1-2 overall and 1-0-1 in league play.
Shortly after Spalding handled McDonogh’s final push in the closing seconds — the home team’s 13th corner kick was headed around the penalty area before the final whistle blew — Savageau got pats on the back from teammates and congratulations from the coaches for a job well done.
“Wow, it was that much?” Savageau said after learning how many stops she made. “I’m still trying to regain my breath. The defense was just amazing, everybody stepped up and it was an 11-player game. They had their chances, we didn’t give them [anything]. We had our chances and it was unlucky, but it was a really great game.”
McDonogh goalie Abigail Van Metre wasn’t as busy as her counterpart, but was just as efficient with 12 saves.
The Eagles had an 18-10 advantage in shots and a 13-1 edge in corner kicks. Both teams had chances to break through, but the Eagles had more on their home field.
Savageau made diving saves in each half of regulation on shots from Kemper Robinson and another reaction save on a shot from Lilly McCarthy. Dorsey, a threat every time she touches the ball, hit the post with a heavy left-footed shot from 20 yards with 18:55 left in the second half.
“I thought we played well until we got in the attacking third. I felt like sometimes we [held the ball too much], could have combined a little more. But saying that, we created a lot of chances and on another day we could have won 2- or 3-0. But to be honest, I think that may be a little bit unfair to Spalding because I thought they played great,” McDonogh coach Harry Canellakis said. “Overall, [I’m] happy. It’s disappointing to draw, especially at home and it makes [the teams’ second meeting at Spalding] even more important. But, at the same time, I’m happy with the effort.”
The Cavaliers also had stretches of good play with the ball, playing their best in the overtime periods, but weren’t able to break through. Midfielder Abby Hanks created most of the chances with a strong game on the left side.
In addition to Savageau’s work in goal, the Cavaliers defense of Jessica Wallace, Kaitlyn Keaton, Hannah Williams and Ella Bjorn was steady throughout.
Saves: S – Savageau 18; M – Van Metre 12.