No. 1 McDonogh subdues Notre Dame Prep in IAAM A lax final rematch; Schettig and Marsh combine for 9 goals
by Derek Toney
On an evening the highly anticipated “Avengers: End Game” premiered in movie theaters, McDonogh School’s girls lacrosse empire struck back on Thursday.
The top-ranked Eagles defeated No. 5 Notre Dame Prep, 13-5, in an IAAM A Conference contest in front of a capacity audience at the US Lacrosse Complex in Sparks. Izzy Marsh scored five goals and University of Maryland-bound Emma Schettig added four goals for McDonogh (16-0 overall, 12-0 IAAM A).
The Owings Mills school overcame an early deficit, dominating the final 25 minutes to avenge last year’s 10-8 loss to the Blazers in the IAAM A final. The defeat ended McDonogh’s national-record 198-game winning streak and nine-year reign as league champs.
Tears and shock, painted on Eagle faces when they departed Tierney Field last May, was replaced with smiles – and some relief – late Thursday evening.
“Since last year we had this game circled on our calendars. We’ve been so excited for this one night,” said Marsh, a junior attack. “It was a little bit nervous at first, but it was the excitement that carried over to give us the energy.”
“There’s lot of memories on this field, you can’t help that when you come to a place that means so much, probably negatively at first,” said McDonogh coach Taylor Cummings. “They did a great job. We started off a little slow, I think our nerves kind of hit us and NDP hit us really hard.”
The Blazers, who handed McDonogh its first loss since April 11, 2009 (vs. New York’s Canandaigua Academy), jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the first 10 minutes Thursday. By halftime, the Eagles pulled even.
The Owings Mills school outscored Notre Dame Prep, 9-1, in the second half, claiming its 214th victory in its last 215 decisions. McDonogh hasn’t loss an IAAM A regular season match since April 2, 2008.
May 11, 2018, however, has been seared in the Eagles collective mind.
“Same exact setting, same time of year. The stands were filled,” said Schettig. “All that energy, once we got the nerves out in the beginning of the first half, lit a fire under us.”
Schettig, an Under Armour All-American selection, scored four goals in the second half as McDonogh dominated the draw. The Eagles gained their first and final lead inside the opening minute of the second half after Marsh, a Duke commit, finished a pass from Kayla Abernathy.
Abernathy won the ensuing draw and Blaire Pearre was fouled inside the 8-meter circle for a free position. Pearre fired a laser into the corner of the net, advancing the Eagles’ lead to 6-4 with 23:33 left in regulation.
Brooke Barger pulled Notre Dame Prep (12-5, 8-3 IAAM A) to within one with 18:23 remaining, but free position scores from Kemper Robinson and Pearre and nice stop by goalie Julia Hammerschlag started a 7-0 close by McDonogh. Pearre added two goals and Abernathy and Caroline Godine each finished with two assists.
Cummings lauded her defense, featuring the goalie tandem of Hammerschlag and Liv Keoghan (two saves each), and defender Sam Thacker, which limited Notre Dame Prep to two goals (one extra-man) over the final 40 minutes.
“They’ve been stellar all year, knock on wood,” said Cummings. “We started to defend the cutters, trusting our defense, trusting their teammates had their back.”
Senior midfielder Charlotte Boote finished with two goals and an assist for Notre Dame Prep. After a promising start, the reigning champ Blazers weren’t able to gain traction on either side of the ball.
“We thought we were in it 4-4 at half, but they started getting the draws in the second half and we didn’t get back on defense as quick enough as we did in the first half so they were able to get shooting space calls,” said Notre Dame Prep coach Mac Ford. “We had a couple of good shots that didn’t go in. It kind of got away from us.”
Ford is little concerned about his offense, but is hopeful some adjustments will reset the Blazers, who won their first IAAM A crown since 2003 last spring.
With two impressive showings this week (defeated No. 3 Glenelg Country School, 20-8, on Tuesday), McDonogh is again the odds-on favorite for the upcoming IAAM A playoffs. The Eagles will be the No. 1 seed.
“Our energy is super high, and we had to keep focusing on the little things,” said Schettig. “Keep pushing and get better everyday.”
No. 1 McDonogh School 13, No. 5 Notre Dame Prep 5
at US Lacrosse/Tierney Field
Goals: McDonogh – Marsh 5, Schettig 4, Pearre 2, Dorsey, Robinson; Notre Dame Prep – Boote 2, Curry, Gentile, Pelkey
Assists: McDonogh – Abernathy 2, Godine 2, Huddles, Robinson; Notre Dame Prep – Boote, Regan
Saves:McDonogh – Geoghan 2, Hannerschlag 2; Notre Dame Prep – Stafford 4
McDonogh 4 9 – 13
Notre Dame Prep 4 1 – 5