For 60 minutes Friday night, the host No. 2 Garrison Forest field hockey team peppered No. 6 McDonogh's goal with shot after shot. Thirty-six of them, officially, with many coming off the Grizzlies' 21 penalty corners.
Eagles goalie Liv Geoghan seldom had time to rest. By night’s end, the Stanford-bound senior could rest easy knowing her stellar play in the cage was the biggest reason her team survived with a 0-0 tie in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Playing under portable lights as part of a fundraiser for breast cancer research, Geoghan took center stage, finishing with 13 saves, including several from point-blank range.
“I knew that if we were going to win, we were going to win by a goal,” Geoghan said. “So I know I had to keep every single goal out, and that kind of kept me going the entire game.”
“It was painful watching cross after cross and shot after shot,” Garrison Forest coach Malcolm Belin said. “Probably tomorrow my heart will start beating.”
The result sets up a rematch between second-seeded Garrison (14-3-1 overall, 5-2-1 A Conference) and third-seeded McDonogh (10-7-2, 3-3-2) in next Friday’s Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference semifinals. It also pushes two-time defending league champion Notre Dame Prep down to a No. 4 seed, taking away the Blazers’ bye and forcing them to play Maryvale in Wednesday’s opening round.
The finals are set for Nov. 3 at noon at Stevenson University.
This one appeared to be going Garrison’s way from the outset. The Grizzlies earned nine penalty corners in the first 17 minutes, but simply couldn’t push the ball into the goal.
Meanwhile, McDonogh, which a month ago handed Garrison its first loss to a local team this season, continued to gain confidence, despite rarely driving the ball past the Grizzlies’ midfield.
Following a scoreless regulation, Garrison nearly won it 1:50 into sudden-death overtime, with senior Ryleigh McComas getting off a pair of close-range shots during a flurry in front of the cage.
In the end, however, none went in, marking the third straight game in which Garrison’s defense hasn’t allowed a goal.
Now, the team’s must prepare to face each other yet again. McDonogh has lost to Garrison in the semifinals each of the past two years -- a trend Geoghan is intent on changing.
“I really wanted to play them again and show them that we can make it to the championship,” Geoghan said.
“We have quite a few girls that have been with us all four years, so it’s huge for us that we’re competing with them,” McDonogh coach Denise Wolf said.
For the Grizzlies, one of the big points of focus over the next week will be finding a way to finish scoring chances, particularly on corners.
“Now we have a whole week,” Belin said. “We see them again on Friday, so we know exactly what we need to work on.”
Garrison Forest 0, McDonogh 0
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Saves: M-Geoghan 13; GF-Klebasko 3. Half: Tied, 0-0.