Every day in practice this spring, McDonogh defender Margaret Donovan faced some of her toughest challenges while trying to contain the Eagles' high-powered attackers. Now, she'll have to do that in a real game, the 12th annual Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Game.
Donovan will play on the opposite side from McDonogh teammates Andie Aldave and Catie May in the Under Armour senior all-star game Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium. Donovan is on the North team while midfielder Aldave and attacker May will play for the South.
Donovan heard that she was on the North team from her future Princeton teammate Samantha Fish, a South goalie. She was surprised, but laughs about it now.
"Of course I wanted to play with my teammates, but I think it's going to be a great experience either way. It's going to be a great learning experience and I get to meet new people. It is going to be difficult to play against them, but I'm excited. I think we can just have fun," said Donovan, who along with Catonsville's Kayla Wood will play for the North because two defenders chosen from New York aren't able to play.
All three McDonogh players were first-team All-Metro selections after the No. 1 Eagles won their ninth straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship and extended their national girls lacrosse win streak to 177 games this spring.
Maryland-bound May and Notre Dame-bound Aldave combined for 71 goals and 49 assists this spring. May has been thinking for a while about what she might have to do if she comes face-to-face with Donovan on Saturday night.
"I know Margaret's a great player, so I'm definitely going to have to pull out a few tricks," May said with a laugh. "We played against each other every single day in practice, so she knows my tendencies and knows what I'm going to try to do. I'm going to have to be creative, think of something new."
Donovan agreed that facing attackers you know so well can be a double-edged sword.
"They're great players and they've had their fair share of beating me to goal, but I've also had my fair share of stopping them. I can tell my [North] teammates about them. Whether it will help or not I really don't know," Donovan said with a laugh.
Living the dream: While many of her South teammates have played in the Under Armour Underclass Tournament in past years, Garrison Forest's Samantha Fiedler will have her first experience with the July 4 weekend event this year.
"It's always been a dream of mine to be in this game and have the whole weekend experience," said Fiedler, a midfielder headed for Loyola Maryland. "Being with new teammates and all the gear that we get will be fun. You always see every year the Instagram posts and how cool it looks. I think it's going to be so exciting to be a part of."
Fiedler has never even been to the game, and she's most looking forward to playing with four of her club teammates as well as girls who have been foes for her entire high school and club career.
"It will be fun just to come together and play," Fiedler said. "We've been rivals, so we know each others' strengths, so it will be cool to play together and use all our strengths together."
Baltimore well represented: More than a quarter of the 44 girls Under Armour All-Americans hail from Baltimore area schools.
In addition to Aldave, May and Donovan from McDonogh, Wood from Catonsville and Fiedler from Garrison Forest, Notre Dame Prep's Keegan Barger and Grace Haus, St. Mary's Shelby Harrison and Severn's Brooke Robbins come from the IAAM A Conference. Courtney Renehan from Class 3A-2A state champion Glenelg, Liberty's Grace Griffin and Centennial's Laurie Bracey hail from public schools. Century attacker Kylie Davis was also selected, but won't play because of an injury.
Including Good Counsel's Taylor McDaniels and Halle Graham, Maryland has more players in the game than any other state with 14. The North squad includes 13 players from New York. Three selections from New York, however, will not play in the game while Davis is the only Marylander sidelined.
Future Terps abound: Defending national champion Maryland continues to have a strong presence in the game with six selections this year, a number matched only by North Carolina. May, Renehan, Robbins, Griffin, Bracey and Davis are headed to College Park in the fall.
The Terps have had two of the past five Most Valuable Players in the game. Severn graduate Caroline Steele, the MVP of the Big Ten Tournament this spring, won in 2015. McDonogh graduate Taylor Cummings, the only three-time Tewaaraton Award winner, won in 2012.
Defense is just fine with us: Robbins and Wood ranked among their teams' top scorers and most versatile midfielders this spring, but the two will play defense in the Under Armour game. That's fine with them.
Both were recruited with the possibility of playing midfield or defense in college — Robbins at Maryland and Wood at North Carolina — and that's what landed them on the defensive end for the Under Armour game where selectors try to pick the top 44 seniors in the country.
"When Under Armour had called me," Robbins said, "I think they only had three defenders at that point and she only had a couple more calls to make, so I think, knowing I was playing midfield or defense at Maryland, she knew I was able to play defense."
Wood played defense her freshman year and half of her sophomore year at Catonsville and then began creeping forward to emerge as a major scoring threat, but her roots are still in defense.
"I kind of lean more toward the defensive end because I'm more comfortable there," Wood said. "I feel like defense is kind of one of those positions where you do so many things and they go unnoticed, but it's OK because you and your team know that you did something. I'm perfectly fine with going, I guess you'd say, unnoticed with the things I do because I know it's going to help my team and that could turn out as a win."