Not even a pre-game pep talk by former NFL great Ray Lewis could keep the
McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.)
girls lacrosse juggernaut from finishing the year with a 91-game winning streak and its fourth-consecutive national championship from US Lacrosse.
Lewis was asked to fire up the players from St. Paul's Girls (Brooklandville, Md.)
, where his daughter goes to school but does not play on the team.
McDonogh coach Chris Robinson told MaxPreps that it was the "ultimate inspiration."
And it worked for a long time, because the underdog Crusaders took a shocking 8-4 lead with less than 15 minutes remaining. However, the Eagles (22-0) rallied like true champions to score the game's final seven goals for an 11-8 victory in the A Conference finale, which is considered the state championship for private schools.
Robinson explained that his worthy opponent gained its shocking lead "by taking high-percentage shots and playing a smart game. It wasn't necessarily a shock. It was pretty slow and methodical. What was more of a shock was the way we exploded at the end. We have a lot of depth and play a lot of kids. Eventually we just wore them down. Our kids thrived under pressure. It was pretty impressive."
McDonogh has built its streak against a powerhouse schedule.
Robinson called the recent success "pretty incredible considering the competition we play. It seems that each graduation year the team keeps stepping up. Our league (the A Conference) is considered the best in the country from top to bottom. We have the 12 most competitive schools from the Baltimore-Annapolis area. It's sort of like playing football in the SEC."Sammi Burgess
paced the Eagles in the title game with three goals and two assists. Megan Whittle
and Elizabeth George
also had three goals apiece. Casey Black
added a pair of goals and goalie Allison Silber
made eight saves.
For the season, Whittle had 55 goals and 10 assists, while Burgess had 44 goals and 12 assists. George had 27 goals and 13 assists, while Black had 20 goals and 23 assists. Silber had 95 saves in 165 shot attempts and Olivia Jenner had 56 draw controls.
Robinson noted that he will lose 17 seniors and will return 11 players, including five starters.
"It's the largest senior class we've had," he said. "But part of our recipe for success has been to play a very up-tempo, fast-break style and play a lot of kids. We've always had a core nucleus coming back. Our whole motto for this year and the last two years was to win our next game."
Putting the brakes on discussing a possible national record next year, the veteran coach said, "We're going to sit back and enjoy this for a while."
He said he has no desire to move into the college ranks.
"I have four little kids at McDonogh," he explained. "It's a phenomenal school and that's the place I want to be. Life is good."