A new coach and considerable turnover from graduation didn’t matter much to McDonogh’s girls lacrosse team Wednesday night as the Eagles opened their season with their 178th straight win.
The Eagles scored the first six goals against Vero Beach and rolled to a 16-3 victory on their spring break trip to Florida.
Maddie Jenner, last year’s All-Metro Player of the Year, won the first three draws and finished with nine. Her teammates on the circle helped the Eagles control 14 of 21 draws, giving McDonogh a huge advantage in possession. The Indians (7-1) tried multiple players to counter the 6-foot-2 Jenner with little effect.
All-Metro attacker Julia Hoffman, just back from an ACL tear, led the Eagles with five goals and an assist. Rachel Anderson added three goals and an assist, while Emma Schettig scored twice. Jenner and Emma Tilson had a goal and an assist each.
This is the first win as head coach for Nancy Love, who assisted Chris Robinson for 16 years before he departed earlier this year to focus on his National Girls Lacrosse League. The Eagles, who have not lost since April 2009, have won nine straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championships and been ranked the No. 1 team in the country since 2010.
Jenner’s domination on the early draws led to three goals in less than seven minutes. Hoffman then scored three straight to run the lead to 6-0 in just over 15 minutes.
The Indians scored back-to-back goals to cut the lead to four with 4:13 left before the half, but they could not sustain any momentum against the Eagles. Jenner and Blair Pearre each won two of the next four draws and McDonogh tacked on three more goals for a 9-2 halftime lead.
Defense was the biggest concern for the Eagles after graduating two All-Metro players. Sam Thacker and Abbie Wilhelm stepped in with veterans Ava Class, Hannah Rothe and goalie Julia Cooper (three saves). They shut out the Indians for nearly 29 minutes until Vero Beach scored with 30 seconds left.
The Eagles are 6-0 against Vero Beach, which won 10 straight Florida state championships from 2006 to 2015. The closest the Indians have come was a 12-8 McDonogh win in 2014.
The Eagles will play two more games in Florida. Tomorrow, they meet The Hill Academy from Ontario, Canada, which they defeated, 17-3, last year. Saturday, they’ll face their first nationally ranked opponent, Novato (Calif.), the No. 22 team in the US Lacrosse National Girls Top 25, in which McDonogh is No. 1.
McDonogh will return home to play Roland Park on March 21.