By Derek Toney
McDonogh’s lacrosse team appears to be hitting its stride, and that could be bad news for the rest of the A Conference.
In their last two games before facing a formidable Glenelg Country School squad on Tuesday afternoon on Dixon Field in Owings Mills, the Eagles’ offense had unleashed a torrent of goals in lopsided wins over Gerstell Academy and Maryvale.
That trend continued against the Dragons in an even more spectacular fashion in a dominating 20-8 victory.
Junior Ella Little had four goals, and Towson University recruit Blaire Pearre finished with three goals and an assist for the Eagles (15-0 overall, 11-0 A Conference).
McDonogh forced a running clock in the opening half, turning the matchup of the top teams in the IAAM A into a stunning mismatch by scoring 17 of the game’s first 18 goals.
After single-goal victories over conference foes Archbishop Spalding and St. Paul’s School for Girls (in double overtime) earlier in the season, McDonogh sent a reverberating message Tuesday.
“Our emphasis were getting off to a quick start especially with the heat,” McDonogh coach Taylor Cummings said. “Glenelg is a great team and if they hang around and it’s close, that’s not very good for us. I’m really proud of the way our girls came out.”
“We got off to a great start,” said Pearre. “We had great energy all over the field.”
Nine players tallied and five handed out an assist for the Eagles in the first half alone. Twelve players scored in all as Kayla Abernathy had two goals and two assists and Lila Huddles and Gabby Stapleton each scored twice.
Cummings, arguably the program’s greatest player who has taken over for Nancy Love after serving as her assistant last year, wanted to take advantage of McDonogh’s depth Tuesday.
“Our subbing is dictated on how we begin, so the quick start really allowed us freedom to get people in early,” said Cummings, who won three Teewaarton Awards (women’s college lacrosse top player) and two national championships at the University of Maryland after leading McDonogh to three A Conference titles. “The second and third rotations did really really well today.”
McDonogh had a 5-0 lead through the first 10 minutes after Little’s unassisted tally off a free run, setup by senior Julia Dorsey’s check and pass. Little scored again for a hat trick and started the running clock at 11-1 with 10:30 left in the opening half.
The Eagles led 15-1 at halftime.
“Our on-ball and off-ball movement on offense has really been helping us,” said Little. “Everybody moving on the field constantly has been putting us on the edge, and that’s why we’ve been successful.”
Kate Sites had three goals for Glenelg Country School (11-4, 9-2 IAAM A), and Josie Pell and Allie Bateman each finished with a goal and an assist.
The Dragons scored five straight goals over the final 10 minutes.
“McDonogh is a very good team, but the things we were upset about was the things we can control and not doing them well,” said Glenelg Country co-coach Brian Reese. “Taking away the middle of the field, hustling on draws and ground balls and taking care of the ball on offense…we’re a better team than that.”
Thursday evening, the Eagles take on Notre Dame Prep at the US Lacrosse complex in Sparks in a rematch of last year’s A Conference final in which the Blazers prevailed, 10-8, ending a national-record 198-game winning streak and nine-year title reign.