When McDonogh's No. 1 girls lacrosse team defeated St. Mary's in midseason, center Maddie Jenner won more than half of the draws. Still, the Eagles could not get a big lead on the Saints.
In Monday's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference quarterfinal, Jenner won 14 draws and the Eagles controlled 20 of 25, but this time, the Eagles used the draw controls to spark their offense and rolled past the No. 7 Saints, 19-4.
In winning their 197th straight game, the host Eagles (20-0) exploded for their biggest offensive output of the season and their second-largest margin of victory. In their regular-season game, they won, 15-10, at St. Mary's (11-7).
"They were more vulnerable than other teams in transition," Jenner said, "so one of the points our coaches made before the game was to try to get our opportunities in on transition and one of the ways to do that was fast break off the draw. We knew that was a big key in this game."
For a few minutes, it appeared St. Mary's might have made some adjustments of their own that would counter Jenner. They won the first draw of the game and Maggie Aumiller fed Marielle McAteer for a 1-0 Saints lead.
St. Mary's won the next draw, too, but Eagles goalie Julia Cooper stopped a shot and McDonogh answered with a goal from Blair Pearre to tie. That was the first of 11 straight Eagles goals, and they had a running clock with a 10-goal lead a little more than 17 minutes into the game.
The 6-foot-2 Jenner, last year's All-Metro Player of the Year, won eight of the last 10 draw controls in the half and those possessions allowed the Eagles to strike quickly, including six goals in less than three minutes. Twice within 20 seconds, Kayla Abernathy took passes from Jenner into the attacking end and fed Izzy Marsh for goals.
"Always, of course, Maddie Jenner is phenomenal on the draw," St. Mary's coach Mindy Jones said, "and they just capitalized on every opportunity that they had. The defense just came up a little short today. We just couldn't even stop the ball."
In the first half, the Eagles hit 13 of 19 shots and at one point, scored on nine straight. They were 19-for-33 in the game while St. Mary's only took 10 shots.
This season, McDonogh's margin of victory had dropped and their margin against the other seven teams in Monday's A Conference quarterfinals was down by more than five goals per game to 6.6. Heading into the playoffs, the Eagles had scored 51 fewer goals than a year ago.
Last week, No. 2 Notre Dame Prep forced the Eagles to overtime before Julia Hoffman's free-position goal won it, 11-10. That was only the second time a team had scored more than six goals against McDonogh this season, and it was the Eagles' second-lowest scoring output.
Senior defender Hannah Rothe said the win over NDP, the team the Eagles defeated last year for their ninth straight A Conference championship, gave them a boost into the playoffs.
"We have a lot of confidence," Rothe said. "NDP was a big challenge for us, but we overcame it and it really showed that we're able to push through a tough game like that and that would make us ready for the next step."
In Wednesday's 4:30 p.m. semifinal, the Eagles will host No. 8 St. Paul's (10-5), a 10-9 winner over No. 5 Archbishop Spalding in Monday's quarterfinals. McDonogh defeated the Gators, 13-9, in early April.
No. 3 Glenelg Country (12-4) will host No. 2 Notre Dame Prep (15-4) in the other semifinal. The winners will play for the championship Friday at 7 p.m. at US Lacrosse in Sparks.
Goals: SM—Sanchez 2, McAteer, Albert; M—Marsh 4, Pearre 3, Hoffman 2, Huddles 2, Jenner 2, Wilhem 2, Anderson, Schettig, K.Robinson, Jacobstein. Assists: SM—Aumiller 2; M—Jenner 2, Abernathy 2, Huddles. Saves: SM—Smith 6, Hull; M—Cooper 3, Hammerschlag, Goeghan. Half: M,13-2.