By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 6/19/13
McDonogh School (MD), which completed its fourth straight undefeated season, has been named the No. 1 team in the final TopLaxRecruits.com Girls’ Rankings.
The Eagles’ accomplishments over the last five years are perhaps unprecedented in the history of girls’ lacrosse.
They have captured five straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championships and won 91 straight games, only 12 short of the national record.
During the streak, McDonogh (22-0 this year) has continued to play many of the top teams around the country. And each year the Eagles have sent numerous players to Division I programs.
This year’s team faced massive graduation – including Taylor Cummings, one of the most decorated high school players ever. Cummings was a First Team All-American at Maryland in 2013, but her former team survived quite well.
McDonogh this year had several tough wins over nationally-ranked Milton (Ga.), 11-8, and Century (MD), 10-7. In the IAAM title game, the Eagles rallied for an 11-8 victory over a game St. Paul’s School for Girls.
McDonogh head coach Chris Robinson has a remarkable 169-10 record in his nine years at McDonogh. He formerly coached at Maryland’s Mt. Hebron, which owns the national mark for consecutive wins at 103 with Lock Raven (Md.).
This year’s McDonogh team clearly had its stars – including All IAAM picks Sam Burgess (attack, signed with Florida), Maggie Preas (defender, Virginia), and Megan Whittle (junior attack, committed to Maryland) – among the 21 Division I signees and commits. But Robinson said the team remained perfect because it played together, remained focused and continued to make the key play in clutch situations.
“This team was able to come up with the clutch play every time we needed it,” said Robinson. “We were down four or five times and each time someone made the big play and the team had the poise to come back and win.
“No time was more evident that in the (IAAM) championship game against St. Paul’s.”
In the St. Paul’s game, McDonogh found itself down, 8-4, and being thoroughly outplayed. But the Eagles would not go down.
“St. Paul’s was playing fantastic lacrosse and had everything going its way,” said Robinson. “They outplayed us until we saw a little daylight and then our girls would not be denied.
“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. 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!”
Burgess, who scored three straight goals to put McDonogh ahead, 9-8, in the final, said her team never played for the streak. “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.”
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.”
Robinson said his team was able to keep its focus each game.
“I know it’s the ultimate cliché, but we had to take ti one game at a time,” he said. “Fortunately, we play a very tough schedule and we knew there were 15 or 16 teams that could beat us if we did not play well and they did.”
Does Robinson ever think about the significance of the streak?
“Maybe now I will look at it because the season is over,” he said. “It is pretty amazing. But I am already looking toward next year and thinking about who is coming up to fill those spots.”