For No. 9 McDonogh, yesterday's 3-3 double-overtime result against top-ranked St. Mary's could be best described as a reassuring tie.
For the visiting Saints, it was more, perhaps, a case of a winning opportunity not taken.
After surrendering two goals in the first five minutes, the Eagles relied on hard work, finishing from sophomore Brittany Tegeler and some casual play in back from the Saints' defense to finish 100 minutes of soccer with the draw.
Tegeler's second goal of the game - a left-footed shot from 16 yards that went in off the right post - gave the Eagles a 3-2 lead in the 61st minute.
But less than a minute later, St. Mary's senior midfielder Sarah Sample scored her second goal on a 20-yard direct kick for the tie.
The Eagles (0-1-2) were trying to regroup from a stunning 7-1 loss to No. 4 South River last Thursday but, just like that, found themselves down 2-0 on St. Mary's goals by Sample and Bibi Anderson - down but far from out.
"I'm really pleased with our effort and the way we came around. At 2-0, we could have rolled over, but we didn't," said McDonogh coach Maurice Boylan Jr. "I'm most pleased with the heart, desire and drive we showed."
The Saints made it look easy in the first five minutes with two well-executed goals, both started with fine build-up in the back.
The first goal had four connections - sweeper Ashly Kennedy through to Anderson out wide to Lauren Brown before Sample finished off a cross in front. Anderson's goal came after work from Sample and Mary Key.
But after McDonogh's Dee Dziewanowski took advantage of miscommunication in back for the Saints later in the first half, the Eagles only trailed 2-1 and were able to find more.
"Both teams played extremely hard, and they got a couple of fortuitous bounces; maybe we didn't," said St. Mary's coach Jerry Tobin. "But I thought we played extremely well. With one sub on the bench that I could use, it was a long game. The last thing we needed was an overtime game today."
The Saints, already without defender Meghan Ryan and starting goalkeeper Marie Oben because of injuries, saw senior forward Christina Doyle leave the game after a midfield collision with Tegeler late in the first half.