High School Girls

July 22, 2009

No. 2 Eagles Soar to First IAAM Crown

by Jeff Seidel | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Farmingdale (N.Y.) is the No. 1 team in Lacrosse Magazine's 2009 season-end high school girls' lacrosse rankings.

© Jim Stout

2009 Lacrosse Magazine High School Rankings

Boys: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 20-25
Girls: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 20-25

by Jeff Seidel | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

McDonogh (Md.) girls' lacrosse Coach Chris Robinson got a team that played just like one all season long. It's why they went 19-1 and won their first title. And it's why the Eagles are the No. 2 team in Lacrosse Magazine's annual season-end national rankings.

The Eagles had 13 different players who scored at least 20 points this spring, with the top scorers getting only 49. But they had so much balance all the way around that McDonogh was tough to stop.

It's a big reason why the Eagles beat No. 6 Notre Dame Prep to win the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM) A Conference championship. That's one of the country's top conferences, and McDonogh didn't lose a game in it.

"I think, for the seniors, it felt like a tremendous accomplishment for them," said Robinson. "This was their last opportunity. For them, it was just an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment that we finally got over the top."

McDonogh rallied late for a 13-10 victory over NDP in that title game. The Eagles had been close in prior years but couldn't finish the job. Ali Brennan got five goals that day to spark McDonogh, which scored the final four goals of the game to pull out the championship victory in a tough contest.

The Eagles had to shut out a tough NDP offense for the final 17-plus minutes to get those final four goals and pull out the championship. They had lost in the title game in 2006, fell in the semifinals in 2007 and lost in finals last year. But this time, the Eagles finished the job and ended the frustration.

"I think it takes the pressure off the future generations here," Robinson said. "We've been here and done that now. The pressure's no longer there now."

The reason for that is the balance on offense. Brooks Ann Lawler (41g, 8a) and Penn State-bound Molly Fernandez (36g, 13a) led the way with 49 points apiece, numbers far below what the leading scorers from other teams posted this year.

But the Eagles also got consistent play from junior midfielder Margaret Smith (verbal commitment to Notre Dame) and classmate Taylor Virden (committed to Duke). Senior midfielders Colby Rhea and Kitty Cullen are both headed to the new program at Florida. Goalie Megan Fiorito, another senior, will be playing at Ohio State next year.

McDonogh got a lot of help from a lot of people, and that made the team so much tougher to stop all year long.

"We were tremendously balanced," Robinson said.

Robinson coached the Mount Hebron girls during their glory years, and he knows a lot about championships. This was his fifth year with the Eagles. But the bad news for McDonogh opponents is that the Eagles won't be flying away any time soon. They had 11 seniors on this year's team, but 18 players are returning and the Eagles will likely be strong again.

What makes McDonogh's accomplishment more impressive is the fact that they played in a very difficult conference against a number of good teams. The Eagles weren't tested too often -- except by NDP twice -- and rolled to the title.

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