By Jenna Metcalf
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 3/19/14
VERO BEACH, Fla. – Mighty McDonogh School (MD) met its first challenge in a brutal three-game stretch tonight by defeating host Vero Beach (FL), 12-8.
Megan Whittle scored five goals and Kelsey Cummings had four as the Eagles – the No. 1 team in the Brine/TopLaxRecruits North America Rankings – claimed their 92nd straight win as they gear for two more games here at Vero Beach, tomorrow vs. No. 17 Georgetown Visitation (D.C.) and Friday vs. No. 7 Harriton (PA).
Twelfth-ranked Vero Beach (9-1), which edged Georgetown Visitation, 16-15, on Tuesday, suffered its first defeat – but gave the Eagles all they could handle.
McDonogh is 11 wins shy of the national record for consecutive wins by a girls’ program, held by Loch Raven (MD) and Mt. Hebron (MD).
Interviews with Megan Whittle (senior, University of Maryland commit) and Coach Chris Robinson
“I thought it was a really good game to get our momentum going,” said senior Whittle, a Maryland signee. “We have games three days in a row so we came down here focused on the game at hand.
“We prepared for Vero and we executed today and now we start preparing for Georgetown Visitation as soon as we wake up tomorrow morning. One game at a time, that’s what we’ve always been doing.”
McDonogh coach Chris Robinson said his team had to get past the first-game jitters on the national stage.
“It’s our first game of the season so we were seeing how well we could come out,” he said. “We have a pretty new team, lots of young girls playing; four freshman. It meant a lot to us to come down here and play in such a great atmosphere and play such a good team.”
McDonogh led, 6-2, at halftime, but Vero stormed back and drew within, 7-6, with 18:45 to play. But the Eagles went on a 5-2 run and held the ball down the stretch to keep the streak going.
Ashley MacIntyre led Vero Beach with three goals.
McDonogh also opened its season in 2013 with a 12-6 win at Vero Beach and in 2012 it claimed a 15-5 win at Vero in its opener.
“It starts at tryouts,” Whittle said. “We’ve been practicing every day in the cold Baltimore ice just for this game and once we got down here, same thing.
We’ve been practicing getting ready for their defense for the past few weeks and were able to execute tonight.”
Added Robinson: “The girls were real psyched coming into tonight’s game. It’s a great place, a great atmosphere, and we knew we had a good opponent so we were ready to get out there.”
Whittle said the McDonogh winning tradition helps motivate new players. But each team is different.
“As our coach says each year, new year and a new team,” she said. “A lot of people think it’s difficult having the streak on our back, but we don’t worry about that.
“We try to take it easy and not stress out, always taking it one game at a time. We just execute, practice, and play hard and the results come with it.”
No. 1 McDonogh School (MD) 12, No. 12 Vero Beach (FL) 8
McDonogh School 6-6-12
Vero Beach 2-6-8
Ashley MacIntyre – 3 goals
Hannah Pridemore – 1 goal
Katy Pridemore – 1 goal
Megan Gorman – 1 goal
Zan Biedenharn – 1 goal
Abby Shields – 1 goal
Megan Whittle – 5 goals
Kelsey Cummings – 4 goals
Ann Smith – 1 goal
Elizabeth George – 2 goals