Having had very little time playing from behind so far this season, top-ranked Archbishop Spalding learned what it feels like to play catch-up against a quality Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference opponent Tuesday afternoon in a showdown at No. 3 McDonogh in Owings Mills.
The three-time defending conference champion Eagles (4-1-1, 3-1-1 conference) scored three times in a 15-minute span late in the first half and held on to secure a 3-1 victory.
The win avenged a 2-1 setback to the Cavaliers (7-2-2, 3-1-1) in mid-September that snapped a 34-game winning streak lasting almost three years.
Julia Dorsey was a sight to behold during the scoring spree on Tuesday, notching the first two goals and making a key pass to set up the third tally.
The sophomore forward slotted a shot into the left corner of the goal after a nice pass from junior forward Lily Stavisky to get things rolling in the 24th minute. She then converted a long throw-in down the sideline from junior right center back Maddie Jenner to make it 2-0 with 10 minutes remaining in the opening period.
Jenner’s throw was lofted well over a defender to the corner where Dorsey played it beautifully before delivering a perfectly-placed arcing shot from a severe angle inside the far post.
With under a minute to go before the intermission, Dorsey’s light touch to Lilly McCarthy resulted in a 3-0 advantage after fellow freshman midfielder Soleil Bellan one-timed McCarthy’s crisp cross past Spalding junior keeper Catherine Davis.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers’ best opportunity in the first half came off the foot of sophomore forward Abby Hanks, whose shot was blocked by freshman midfielder Kalli Wethern.
At halftime, Spalding coach Ashly Kennedy talked about how her shell-shocked team, which had a .7 goals-against average coming into the match, should react to the first-half onslaught by the Eagles.
“When you haven’t been down much during the season so far, haven’t been tested like that, you have to learn how to respond to adversity,” she said. “We had some chances in the first half…..I told them that even the greatest teams in the world lose sometimes.”
Nevertheless, the Cavaliers were much more potent in the final half, starting their rally early on a shot by senior Natalie Holmes that McDonogh senior goalie Marge Donovan snared after diving to the turf.
It was the first of four key saves in the period by Donovan, who was also aided by another block by a defender, with Jenner doing the honors to once again deny Hanks.
However, Hanks did break through when she hustled to convert junior Kaityn Keaton’s pass in the 47th minute to make it, 3-1.
After that, Jenna Snead missed wide and sophomore classmate Dani Etienne’s rocket was gobbled up by Donovan before senior Maria Kiskis’ hard drive rattled off the post and out of harm’s way with four minutes remaining.
“We talked in the locker room at halftime how we could close out the game,” Donovan said. “But they responded very well. We were on our heels for a good part of the second half. But, we ended up taking a deep breath, focusing and playing tactically.”
McDonogh coach Harry Canellakis said that the Eagles’ were, as usual, comfortable in their home nest.
“After going in at halftime up 3-0 against a more experienced, older team is a real credit to our group,” he said. “We haven’t lost here in a long time. We’re just more confident on this field. We’ve just always done very well at home. The girls played very well.”
NO. 3 MCDONOGH 3, NO. 1 ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 1
AS 0 1 — 1
McD 3 0 — 3
Goals: AS-Abby Hanks; McD-Julia Dorsey 2, Soleil Bellan.
Assists: AS-Kaitlyn Keaton; McD-Maddie Jenner, Lily Stavisky, Lilly McCarthy.
Saves: AS-Catherine Davis 3, Jillian Savageau 3; McD-Marge Donovan 5, Maddie Jenner, Kalli Wethern.