Dulaney High’s Maggie Kelly knows all about playing in championship games.
Her dad, Brendan Kelly, played for the Johns Hopkins men’s college lacrosse team that won the NCAA national championship in 1987.
In fact, Kelly scored two goals in the 11-10 win over Cornell.
His daughter, Maggie, played in state championship games in field hockey in the fall and lacrosse in the spring during her senior year.
Although the Lions lost to South River in both title clashes, Kelly graduated with one state title, winning a Class 4A crown when she was a sophomore on the lacrosse team.
Her outstanding seasons in both field hockey and lacrosse earned her the 2018 Towson Times Female Athlete of the Year award.
In field hockey, she was an all-state selection, after scoring 22 goals and adding three assists.
“When I told her she made all-state she couldn’t even believe it,” Dulaney field hockey coach Kellie Fialcowicz said. “She didn’t think she was worthy of being the same caliber of some of the other girls in the state and that she was just as worthy as they were.”
She was also named to the All-Metro first team by the Baltimore Sun and the All-County first team.
She was the catalyst for the 18-2 field hockey squad that defeated powerhouse Hereford three times, including once in the county championship game, when the Lions won 4-3 in overtime and Kelly had the game-winning assist to Reece Spann.
That was her favorite senior year memory in athletics.
“We had lost to them for who knows how long in that game and obviously beating a team three times in a row is almost unheard of, so the fact that we were able to pull it off in my senior year was like the highlight of my year,” said Kelly, who will never forget the assist on the turf field at Catonsville High. “I remember it very vividly.”
Although the Lions lost 2-1 to South River in the Class 4A field hockey state final, she did help get them there, scoring a second-half goal in a 2-0 win over Clarksburg in the state semifinals.
Which state final was she more emotional?
“I would have to say field hockey, probably, just getting to states because it was such a long time ago,” Kelly said. “Just the fact that we got there was a win in itself.”
It was the first time the Lions reached the state final since 2010 and Kelly was a key reason.
“She rises to the occasion and she doesn’t really fall to the pressure of the situation at hand which is great because that personality of hers is contagious and it sort of calms the nerves of the players around her a little bit,” said Fialcowicz, who noted she scored three goals in a regular-season 3-1 victory over Hereford.
The coach also appreciated her ability to be in the right place at the right time.
“She is very quick and has very good field sense and I think that carries over between field hockey and lacrosse, she sort of knows where the ball is going and what space to move into, so that field sense, in conjunction with her speed, makes her very dangerous because she can get up and down the field pretty quickly,” Fialcowicz said. “She was surrounded by speed in lacrosse and field hockey, so that all sort of worked out well with the way she played.”
While the field hockey team won 17 games in a row on the way to the final, the lacrosse team took a more difficult route.
At one point, early in the season, they lost five of six games, but after an 8-7 loss to Catonsville, they turned it around and won eight straight games before falling to South River, 11-9, in the state title game.
Kelly, who played two years of lacrosse and one year of field hockey with her younger sister, Bridget, had two goals in the championship game and her sister had one.
The first win of the eight-game streak was 20-8 over Franklin. They followed that with a 10-9 win over Hereford, 19-10 victory over Loch Raven and 13-12 triumph over Manchester Valley.
“I really think it [the turnaround] started after our win at Hereford,” Kelly said. “Going into that game we had already lost to Catonsville and Towson, so we were kind of going in thinking we have nothing to lose, so let’s just go out here and play the best we can and just have fun with it and I think that mentality just completely turned the way our team was playing and our team chemistry immediately got stronger and everybody was having a better time and it really transferred over to how we played on the field.”
In the first round of the regional playoffs, they avenged the loss to Catonsville with a 17-8 victory that impressed Comets’ coach Cantey Bailey.
“I definitely think she had an amazing game, between draw controls and her composure on attack, alone, was just a game changer for them,” Bailey said.
Dulaney lacrosse head coach Kristi Korrow had twins during the season and Lauren Iacoboni assumed the head coaching duties, but Korrow was on the sidelines in the background for the Catonsville game and Iacoboni got a front row spot and liked what she saw from Kelly.
“Maggie has been a huge leader this year,” Iacoboni said. “She takes it at the right time, she re-attacks at the right time and I think she does a great job of knowing when to go, which is huge.”
Kelly finished with over 60 points in lacrosse this season and will play at Lehigh University next year and she will wear the same number 32 her dad wore in college.
That’s appropriate because her family is what got her into the sport at a young age and helped her grow fond for it immediately.
“I’ve been playing since I was like four years old,” said Kelly, whose dad played at Towson High, a rival of Dulaney “I loved it right away. I used to play with my brother and my dad and all of his brothers all played in high school and a few of them went off to play in college, so it just kind of ran in the family.”