Two years ago Century came about as close as it could to ending McDonogh’s national-record girls lacrosse winning streak.
Thursday, the No. 1 Eagles made sure the outcome of this latest meeting was never in doubt.
On senior day at McDonogh, the Eagles scored the first five goals and cruised to a 16-6 victory for their 196th straight win.
The Knights nearly ended the streak at 152 on May 2, 2016. They led by four goals with 8:14 left, but McDonogh rallied to win in overtime in one of the biggest comebacks in the history of its streak.
The Eagles, who have been No. 1 in every national poll for nine years, haven’t lost a game since April 11, 2009.
Century senior Kelsey Morrison, who played on the team two years ago, said that because the Knights (9-4) play their final regular-season game against McDonogh (19-0), they try to build throughout the season toward a big finish.
“It’s always our goal to play our best game against them and see if we can come out with a win,” Morrison said. “I think two years ago really gave us a lot of hope that we can beat them, so there’s no reason for us not to come out here and bring all the intensity that we’ve got.”
Century answered the Eagles’ opening salvo with goals from Grace Bruce and Madison Plitt to cut the lead to 5-2 midway through the first half. After McDonogh’s Julia Hoffman, who finished with five goals and two assists, scored, Christina Haspert answered to keep the Knights within three with 11:09 left in the half.
The Eagles then scored four straight goals — two from Hoffman and one each from Blair Pearre and Kemper Robinson to run the lead to 10-3. Century never got closer than within six, and McDonogh had a running clock for about five minutes of the second half.
One of the biggest problems for the Knights was on the draw, where they didn’t have anyone to contend with Maddie Jenner. The 6-foot-2 Eagles senior, last season’s All-Metro Player of the Year, won almost every draw she took although McDonogh also used Kayla Abernathy and Kemper Robinson on the draw.
“The draw control and no matter where you look, on the field, off the field, there’s talent everywhere,” Century coach Becky Groves said of the Eagles, who ran players in and out the entire game.
“We can only control our heart and our intensity. We can’t control how much talent they have. We can control what we bring to the game, and I thought we really hustled and played hard, but overall they’re just a dominant program and a dominant team that plays really well together.”
Groves, whose team lost last year’s meeting 17-6, likes to finish the season against McDonogh, because it gives the Knights their strongest test heading into the playoffs.
“Everyone’s like, ‘You have a loss at the end of the season,’ ” she said. “Yeah, I understand that, but at the same time, you need to play the best to be the best and we’re not going to play anybody better than McDonogh in the playoffs.”
Century, the defending Class 2A-1A state champion, will find Knights find out Monday where it will be seeded in the Class 2A West playoffs as the state lacrosse tournament expands to four classifications this spring.
The Eagles will go for their 10th straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship beginning with Monday’s quarterfinals. They will host the winner of Friday’s game between No. 8 St. Mary’s and No. 15 John Carroll at 4:30 p.m.
Goals: C—Bruce 2, Haspert 2, Plitt, Hall; M—Hoffman 5, Abernathy 2, Pearre 2, Jenner 2, Anderson 2, K.Robinson, Marsh, Schettig. Assists: C—Hall; M—A.Robinson 3, Hoffman 2, Anderson, Abernathy. Saves: C—Hollinger 5; M—Cooper 3, Goeghan, Hammerschlag. Half: M, 11-4.