For McDonogh soccer star Baylee DeSmit, there’s something to be said about the comfort of familiarity.
So when it came down to making a decision on where she would call home for the next four years at college, there really wasn’t much debate.
For DeSmit, Loyola Maryland had it all: strong academics, a smaller campus to walk to all her classes that is reminiscent of McDonogh, welcoming professors and administrators and a women’s soccer program she plans to help continue improving.
And, oh yeah, the Towson native lives minutes away.
“I think it was mainly a sense of relief knowing I’m going to be happy there and this is a good thing. I just wanted a place where I felt I could prosper and grow and I thought Loyola did that,” said DeSmit, who was also named Gatorade Maryland Girls Soccer Player of the Year in June.
The last time DeSmit was in a McDonogh soccer uniform, the Eagles were claiming a third straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship with her two second-half goals the spark in a 3-1 win over rival Archbishop Spalding in the 2019 championship game.
She finished with 20 goals and 11 assists that season and would have taken 56 goals and 28 assists into her senior season with a chance to win a conference crown in each of her four years.
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That chance, along with the opportunity to play one final season with her classmates while helping lead the younger Eagles, never came.
“It’s definitely hard and disappointing because I knew our team this year could have done great things and we were looking forward to getting that fourth championship, but we couldn’t do anything about it,” she said. “So I’m just happy for the experience I did have, especially with my senior classmates. We’re a great class and I have years to remember.”
DeSmit has continued to play for her club team, Pipeline SC, and also hopes to get her basketball and lacrosse senior seasons in before turning her attention to her college days at Loyola.
She’s an “A” student at McDonogh and is still deciding on a college major. Once she takes to the soccer field at Loyola, more familiarity will be found.
“I can not wait,” she said. “I’m coming in with [Pipeline SC] teammate — Olivia Quaranta — and that will be amazing. I hear the 2025 class is great and being able to play with them is amazing. And I know some of the girls in the sophomore class playing now, like [former Mercy star] Ada Tempert. I loved competing against her and it will be fun to play with her again. I’m just so excited.”