By Tom Peace
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 5/13/13
TOWSON, Md. – McDonogh School (MD) used a 7-0 run to end the game and rally for a dramatic 11-8 victory today over stubborn St. Paul’s School for Girls (MD) to claim its fifth straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland “A” Conference championship at Notre Dame Prep.
The win was the 91st straight for the Eagles (22-0), who have gone undefeated four straight years despite continually playing nationally-ranked teams.
“It’s amazing; I don’t think a lot of people thought this team could do it after we lost a lot of seniors in the class of 2012,” said McDonogh coach Chris Robinson. “I am so proud of this Class of 2013 and their leadership.
“All season we took everyone’s best. St. Paul’s played a heck of a game; a great game. They can walk off the field proud. We are walking off with a win – and it was a hard-earned win!”
Indeed, the Eagles needed one of their patented runs to take back the momentum after the gators scored the first two goals of the second half to seize an 8-4 lead. First it was Casey Black (two goals) and then Elizabeth George (three goals).
Then Sam Burgess (three goals), who had been held scoreless, took over and tallied three in a row to give the Eagles a 9-8 lead. Megan Whittle (two goals) then scored and and Black added another insurance goal.
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“Obviously, we don’t want the streak to end,” said Burgess. “But that’s not what fuels us.
“We all have learned we like to play together and we like to win together, and so when we do that, good things happen.”
St. Paul’s – led by Amanda Sutor (four goals) – started off hot, bolting to a 5-1 lead in the opening minutes.
“We were struggling offensively in the first half,” said Robinson. “They were sliding a lot of people to the ball and we were holding on to the ball too long. We needed to keep the ball moving.
After pulling within 6-4 on Whittle’s goal late in the first half, McDonogh gave up the first two goals of the second half to Sutor and Paige Aldave. But after that the Eagles’ stifling pressure defense began to wear down the Gators.
“I think in the second half they got tired from our relentless pressure,” said Robinson. “We were still fresh and they were tired.
“I told them it was a 50-minute game. The momentum, I felt, shifted to us at halftime. It went back to them for a good 7 or 8 minutes. But we felt the second half was ours.
“We felt that way all season. There was no relenting. We wanted to make them earn it. If we were going to go down, we were going to go down swinging. We fought back today; it was a great fight.”
“I wasn’t doing anything in the beginning of the game and they were marking me hard,” added Burgess. “I got frustrated, but I am a senior and this was my last game.
“I didn’t want to go out with a loss. We all came together. We’ve had experience being down. Without those experiences the outcome may have been different.”
St. Paul’s coach Brooke Kuhl-McClelland had many emotions after the loss. She was tremendously disappointed for her team that had played so well, but also happy for Robinson – her former co-coach at Mt. Hebron and also for the powerhouse M&D Lacrosse Club.
Kuhl-McClelland also knows a lot about streaks. Her Mt. Hebron team holds a share of the national record for wins in a row with 103.
“We (she and Robinson) worked together for years with M&D and we are really good friends,” she said. “I respect what they’re doing. I wouldn’t have rather lost to anyone but them.
“If anyone is going to beat the streak, it’s good it would be them. Theirs is much (more impressive) than ours because they have had stiffer competition.
“We didn’t think about the streak. We just prepared for McDonogh. We knew what they were about and what their offensive sets were. We knew about their high pressure doubles so we worked on moving the ball.
“Our team peaked at the right time. We were like the (Baltimore) Ravens. People asked who we were. All of a sudden we came on strong. “
Burgess said the accomplishment of going undefeated for a fourth straight year was “amazing.”
“It’s honestly just amazing,” said Burgess. “I could not have asked for a better year. We haven’t lost a game of lacrosse in my four years here. I don’t think anybody can say that. It’s amazing.”
McDonogh 11, St. Paul’s School for Girls 8
McDonogh 4-7- 11
St, Paul’s School 6-2- 8
Samantha Burgess 3g
Elizabeth George 3g
Casey Black 2g
Megan Whittle 2g
Grace Muller 1g
Goalie – Allison Silber
Amanda Sutor 4g
Shelby Wells 2g
Paige Aldave 2g
Emily Gibbons 1a
Goalie – Carerra Lucas