McDonogh ends Notre Dame Prep’s perfect run, snaps rare skid; Godine scores three goals

by PJ Owen

Special to VSN

The reports of McDonogh School girls lacrosse team’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Ok, so that’s not exactly the Mark Twain-attributed quote, but it certainly explains the current plight of the Eagles, who had an unheard-of two-game losing streak going into Wednesday’s home game against Notre Dame Prep.

It was “old times” again for McDonogh, which responded with an impressive 9-6 victory over the previously undefeated Blazers in an IAAM A Conference contest.

The Eagles (11-2 overall, 10-2 IAAM A) dropped matches to St. Paul’s School (16-9) and Glenelg Country School (13-3). Those setbacks were only the second and third since 2009 compared to 229 wins.

“It was definitely important (to bounce back),” said McDonogh junior attack Caroline Godine, who produced three goals and an assist in the win. “I thought we had a great couple of days of practice. Our program doesn’t have a lot of experience with losses, but this is a new team, new goals. 

“There’s no better team than NDP than to have that win. We just had to focus on this game and go 1-0 like our coach (Taylor Cummings) said. I thought we did that. We played great and I’m really proud of our team.”

Trailing 4-3 at the half, senior midfielder Annie Marshall tied the score for the Blazers (8-1, 8-1 IAAM A) on a free position, but McDonogh took control of the match by scoring the next four goals, including two with a man advantage with the second of those strikes coming in the closing seconds of the penalty time.

“I’m really proud of our team,” said Cummings, whose squad end the regular season Friday against John Carroll School. “I thought defensively, it was some of the best defensive sets we’ve ever had this season. Just playing together and trusting each other, that’s what it’s all about and they did a great job on both ends of the ball today.”

Godine, who’s verbally committed to the University of North Carolina, set up the first of that four-goal rally with a pass to a streaking Amanda Lawson for a 5-4 lead with 18:58 left in the match. Following the yellow card, Dakota Uy converted a free position and Baylee Desmit scored in transition off a long pass from Sydney Smith for a 7-4 advantage with 15:23 remaining. Godine capped the run with a goal off an assist from Lawson with about 13:30 left in the second half.

Nancy Halleron stemmed the tide on a nifty pass from Emily Peek to make the score 8-5 with 7:30 minutes left before McDonogh’s Lillie Bea Cope and Notre Dame’s Haley Burns traded scores.

“They (McDonogh) played a nice game,” said Blazers coach Mac Ford, whose team ended the Eagles’ record 198-game winning streak in the 2018 IAAM A final. “The bottom line is that their goalie (Marin Wilhelm) was extremely hot all game. I loved all of our shots, especially in the secon half when we were controlling the draw (7-0). We were getting point-blank shots after point-blank shots, but she was coming up big, so it was just one of those days.

“I would assume she had 14-15 saves, so those are 14-15 shots on goal (and) we lose by three. We had a yellow card and gave up two goals, so I’m very proud of our girls, but hats off to that goalie.”

Wilhelm’s performance anchored an abrupt turnaround from last week’s total of 29 combined goals and many of her timely saves came on free positions as Notre Dame possessed the ball for large portions of the second half after being largely dominated on draws in the first 25 minutes. 

“Marin played amazingly well,” Cummings said. “She was really the backbone of the defense and gave them so much confidence. It was an incredible game today.”

Defense was the name of the game in the first half as the Eagles eked out a 4-3 halftime lead. Kemper Robinson and Godine each netted a pair of goals for the Eagles while Marshall, Regan Kawa, and Kailey Pelkey powered the Blazers with one goal each

Following a free position goal from Marshall, Robinson and Godine staked McDonogh to a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the half at 3-1.

Robinson struck twice on free position attempts at the goal while Godine finished a fast break started when Gabby Stapleton scooped a loose ball and fed an open Remi Schaller at midfield. Schaller then drew in the defender and passed left to the open Godine for the score.

The Eagles’ lead grew to 4-2 on Godine’s next score before a transition score by Pelkey with 27.2 seconds remaining trimmed the deficit to one at the break.