Top-ranked Spalding shuts out No. 2 McDonogh again

by Nelson Coffin

Olivia Burkowski got a surprise start and scored the game’s first goal, sparking Spalding to a 2-0 win over No. 2 McDonogh.

Archbishop Spalding’s Olivia Burkowski did not play in the first meeting between the top-ranked Cavaliers and No. 2 McDonogh two weeks ago, a scoreless double-overtime match that kept the two teams deadlocked in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference standings.

Unless something unforeseen happens before the rivals are likely to meet again in the championship match Nov. 4, there’s a pretty good chance the junior will be back in the lineup then after her performance on Tuesday in Severn.

And that’s because Burkowski scored the first goal in just over 130 minutes of action this season between the two sides to give the Cavaliers enough momentum to earn a crucial 2-0 victory.

Sophomore Lauren Korsnick’s persistence after taking a pass down the right side and motoring around a defender to crisply cross the ball in front of the goal paid off handsomely for the Spalding (7-0-1, 4-0-1 conference).

“I was given an opportunity to either cut in or go around the defender,” Korsnick said. “I faked and went around the defender and played the ball in.”

The ball caromed off another McDonogh defender toward Burkowski, who stung the net with a wicked one-timer in the 31st minute for a 1-0 advantage.

“It was just kind of like a garbage goal, but I’ll count it,” said Burkowski, noting it was only her second goal of the season. “It was amazing to score against McDonogh. It’s crazy to score against such a great team. I didn’t play in the other McDonogh game, so I was like ‘whatever,’ it’s fine. So I really wasn’t expecting a goal out of this game. Coach told me yesterday that I was going to start in this game and I, like, freaked out. So I was very excited to play and that (goal) just topped it all off.”

The score remained that way until just over seven minutes remained in regulation when junior Fifi Iluyomade was taken down in the box by McDonogh junior goalie Abby VanMetre, who drew a yellow card on the play.

Lauren Korsnick’s persistent run down the right side set the stage for Spalding’s first goal.

On the ensuing penalty kick by Spalding’s Jess Zimmerman, McDonogh sophomore keeper Maddie Puritz had no chance to stop the junior’s shot that was rocketed into the left corner of the net to double the margin.

For the second straight match, the inability by the Eagles (6-1, 3-1-1) to solve junior keeper Jillian Savageau (5 saves) and a half dozen defenders, including juniors Elisa Piccirilli and Ella Born and sophomore Hannah Williams rotating on the left side and junior Abby Jeanneault and freshman Jess Wallace doing the same at center back.

Senior Kaitlyn Keaton handled the right side by herself.

“When you play a team a second time, you want to figure out some kinks,” Spalding coach Ashly Kennedy said. “We trained this week and prepared for their tendencies. We worked on clearing out of the back and on our shape, and collectively they all stepped up at big moments. It was a testament to our backline being able to step up, and for Jillian again coming up a couple of times huge.”

Savageau, just as she did in the earlier match, made a brilliant save against McDonogh freshman midfielder Kemper Robinson.

This time it was from point-blank range in the 34th minute.

Just 30 seconds later, the Cavalier keeper smothered junior Julia Dorsey’s cross before sophomore forward/midfielder Lily McCarthy could make solid contact with the ball.

Near the end of the half, Born cleared a ball played into the box by freshman forward Aria Bilal out of harm’s way before an Eagle teammate could reach it.

Those near misses, including a header that sailed well over the crossbar by senior Maddie Jenner and a McCarthy miss on a feed from Bilal, only mounted the Eagles’ frustrations.

“It was similar to the last game,” McDonogh coach Harry Canellakis said. “We created enough chances and opportunities, but what we need is a little more tenacity.”

McD 0 0 — 0
AS 1 1 — 2
Goals: AS-Olivia Burkowski, Jess Zimmerman.
Assists: AS-Lauren Korsnick.
Saves: McD-Abby VanMetre 9; AS-Jillian Savageau 5.