No. 1 McDonogh outlasts St. Paul’s in 2 OTs for IAAM A lacrosse championship return; Marsh scores game-winner (VIDEO HERE!)

Izzy Marsh was “golden” Saturday for McDonogh girls lacrosse. The junior scored with 15 seconds left in the second overtime, giving No. 1 McDonogh a 5-4 victory over 12th-ranked St. Paul’s for the IAAM A Conference championship at Gerstell Academy.

by Derek Toney

May 11, 2018. The date has been seared in the minds of McDonogh School girls lacrosse team.

Notre Dame Prep 8, McDonogh 6. For the first time in nearly a decade, the Eagles walked off the field with a loss. This spring, McDonogh was determined to reclaim its place atop the IAAM A Conference.

Exactly a year later, the Eagles are back in a familiar spot. No. 1 McDonogh defeated 12th-ranked St. Paul’s School, 5-4, in double overtime in the IAAM A finale at Gerstell Academy Saturday afternoon.

Junior attack Izzy Marsh’s “golden goal” with 15 seconds remaining in the second overtime gave McDonogh (21-0 overall) its 10th IAAM A title in 11 seasons. The Eagles’ run of nine straight championship and historic 198-game winning streak was ended in last year’s IAAM A final at US Lacrosse.

“We’ve been looking forward to this season since last season’s end,” said Marsh. “We worked hard to get into shape in the preseason then build and keep getting better, having that angle of what we wanted to accomplished.”

One of the greatest runs in Baltimore prep history is back on track. Barely. The Owings Mills school needed a rally late in regulation before finally solving the puzzle that was St. Paul’s goalie Leah Wareheim.

Wareheim, a sophomore transfer from Gerstell, stopped 12 shots and had McDonogh flustered.

The Eagles shot high. They shot low. Wareheim was a human vacuum cleaner Saturday, single-handedly putting the Gators on the cusp of their first IAAM A crown since 2006.

“I think she could’ve stood on her head and she would have save it,” said McDonogh coach Taylor Cummings of Wareheim. “She was on fire.”

Wareheim denied the Eagles on two early free position attempts, and McDonogh fired wide on a couple of other early chances. Kayla Abernathy was able to get two shots past Wareheim for 2-0 advantage.

But it didn’t hold up. St. Paul’s scored four unanswered goals – the last from Caroline Pearce – for a 4-2 advantage with 7:24 remaining in regulation.

The score followed a Wareheim free position stop on Blaire Pearre.

“She was a great goalie and you have to give credit to her and their defense played a great game,” said Pearre, who will play for Towson University next season.

Pearre was able to get her next opportunity high past Wareheim, bringing the Eagles to within 4-3 with 4:14 left in regulation. The Gators lost the ball near midfield and McDonogh turned it into a break as Emma Schettig got a pass from Pearre and slipped a shot low past Wareheim, tying the game at 4 with 1:48 remaining in regulation.

“We started doing the little things, riding them harder, picking up the ground balls, doubling them on defense,” said Schettig, an Under Armour All-American selection headed to Maryland. “All the little things started connecting in the last eight minutes.”

McDonogh won the ensuing the draw, but Wareheim stopped Schettig’s off-balance attempt with 25 seconds left. St. Paul’s made a final run, but Alex Pirsino’s shot was captured by Olivia Keoghan at the end of regulation.

The Eagles won possession to start the first 3-minute overtime, but was unable to get a shot on goal before the buzzer. St. Paul’s gained possession at the start of the 2nd OT, but quickly turned the ball over.

Wareheim captured a tough quick turnaround shot attempt by Abernathy. After nearly turning the ball over and McDonogh pressuring them in the back, the Gators called timeout with 1:07 left in the second overtime.

St. Paul’s advanced downfield, and Espirit Cha’s attempt landed in the front of the goal. The Eagles got downfield, and freshman Caroline Godine found Marsh coming from the back of the goal.

Marsh faked Wareheim and put the ball in the far side, setting off a wild celebration. The celebration, featuring a horde of McDonogh students, was paused as Wareheim had to be tended by athletic training personnel for an injured shoulder. .

Once game officials signaled the goal good after a stick check, McDonogh finally exorcised the memory of last year’s championship game loss.

“This has been the goal in the back of their mind all year. We really started talking about winning the championship after Wednesday,” said Cummings. “They’ve had grit and determination all year.

Having been down before this year helped us because they were calm, cool and collected. They knew what what to do.”

It was fitting and bitter end for St. Paul’s, which knocked off 2018 champ Notre Dame Prep and tournament’s No. 2 seed Glenelg Country School, both in double OT, to reach its first title game since 2013.

Saturday’s classic was the Brooklandville school’s 7th overtime match, and sixth one-goal loss of the season.

“I’m just so proud of this team. All 24 of them,” said Gators coach Mary Gagnon. “The energy on the sideline, every single one gave their heart and soul. We didn’t get that one last break that we needed today, but we battled all the way down to the last shot.”

McDonogh also needed two overtimes to turn away St. Paul’s last month in Brooklandville. The Eagles rallied from a 5-1 halftime deficit.

Saturday was an epic defensive slugfest as St. Paul’s and McDonogh’s units held the opposing offense to a season-low.

“We had a tough shooting day, but what I’m really proud of is they kept shooting,” said Cummings. “You’re not going to get nothing past her [Wareheim] stop and shooting. They kept shooting and made the number they needed to make.”

The victory also assures McDonogh, the consensus No. 1 in the nation, a 10th mythical national title in 11 seasons. The Eagles have won 219 of their last 220 decisions.

“I’m in awe. It was awesome,” said McDonogh senior defender Julia Dorsey. “It was ugly, but we did it.”




Goals: St. Paul’s – Pirisino 2, Sawers, Pearce; McDonogh – Abernathy 2, Marsh, Pearre, Schettig

Assists: St. Paul’s – Sawers; McDonogh – Dorsey, Pearre

Saves: St. Paul’s – Wareheim 12; McDonogh – Hammerschlag, Geoghan 3

St. Paul’s 1 3 0 0 – 4

McDonogh 2 2 0 1 – 5