Eagles handed 1st de­feat since 2013

Cava­liers im­pres­sive as they out­play de­fend­ing champs

Baltimore Sun - - VARISTY - By Glenn Gra­ham glenn.gra­ham@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Glen­nGra­hamSun

It had been 35 games since the No. 1 McDonogh girls soc­cer team lost — a streak of 31 wins, with one tie pre­ced­ing that, dat­ing to Oc­to­ber 2013.

It had been even longer since the Eagles, a peren­nial na­tional power and three-time de­fend­ing In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion of Mary­land A Con­fer­ence cham­pi­ons, had been con­sid­er­ably out­played.

That was the case Tues­day at Arch­bishop Spald­ing.

The host and No. 4 Cava­liers were faster to the ball and smart with it, con­nect­ing passes and cre­at­ing scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties through­out the game.

Se­niors Maria Kiskis and Katie Martin put two chances away in the first half, and the Cava­liers fended off a late McDonogh charge to claim a 2-1 win in Sev­ern.

Spald­ing im­proved to 4-1-1 over­all and 1-0 in the IAAM. In McDonogh’s sea­son and league opener, the Eagles fell for the first time since a1-0 set­back against John Car­roll on Oct. 1, 2013.

“It was a big ac­com­plish­ment for us to beat McDonogh. We hadn’t beaten them in a while, and their win­ning streak was phe­nom­e­nal. And we were able to break it, so it’s a re­ally good ac­com­plish­ment for Spald­ing, and it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing,” Martin said.

The Cava­liers, who fin­ished with a 16-6 ad­van­tage in shots, set­tled into the game quickly. They opened the scor­ing when Kiskis got pos­ses­sion of the ball on the left side and was able to get around McDonogh goalie Mar­garet Dono­van be­fore fin­ish­ing from in close for a 1-0 lead with 17:22 to play be­fore half­time.

With less than two min­utes in the half, Jenna Snead sent an ideal through ball to Martin, who fin­ished to the far post from the left side for a 2-0 lead.

Dono­van (10 saves) made a bril­liant stop with 27:25 left in the game, tip­ping a shot from Kait­lyn Keaton over the cross­bar to keep the Eagles close.

The Eagles cut the deficit on a goal from fresh­man Lilly McCarthy with 6:22 to play, Arch­bishop Spald­ing goalie Cather­ine Davis makes a save as McDonogh’s Ju­lia Dorsey at­tempts to score. Davis made three saves as the Cava­liers de­fense se­cured the win. but the Cava­liers de­fense stayed poised the rest of the game to se­cure the win. Spald­ing goalie Cather­ine Davis, who spelled in­jured starter Jil­lian Sav­ageau, made three saves.

Start­ing four fresh­men, and with other play­ers from last year’s cham­pi­onship team tak­ing on big­ger roles, McDonogh coach Harry Canel­lakis knew open­ing at Spald­ing would be tough. With the A Con­fer­ence down to five teams this sea­son, they will meet a se­cond time dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, at McDonogh on Oct. 4.

“I thought the first half was poor, but mainly be­cause of a lack of ex­pe­ri­ence,” Canel­lakis said. “It’s tough for a young team to come on the road against one of the bet­ter teams in the con­fer­ence as their first game.”

Canel­lakis said the end of the win­ning streak — the Eagles fin­ished 12-0 last sea­son and 14-0 in 2014 — didn’t mat­ter.

“What these kids have to un­der­stand is that doesn’t count for any­thing, and they just found that out. We’re not re­ally think­ing about that at all,” he said. “Even for the pre­vi­ous groups, that record has never re­ally been [any­thing]. We’ve talked about what we’re try­ing to do, which is build some­thing spe­cial, and we still feel like we have the play­ers to do that.”

While the Eagles are a young team and look­ing to find their iden­tity, the Cava­liers have been im­pres­sive in the early sea­son, with Tues­day’s win the big­gest to date. Kiskis and Martin pro­vided the scor­ing, the en­tire mid­field played strong and to­gether, and de­fend­ers Emily Roberts and Natalie Holmes kept things tidy in back.

“Since Day One with this group, I have had so much be­lief in them,” Spald­ing coach Ashly Kennedy said. “I think they have a lot of drive and fight and strong lead­er­ship with this group col­lec­tively.”

As for com­ing up with the win that ended McDonogh’s run: “We’re go­ing to face them again, so I’m not go­ing to say much. But I’m re­ally proud of the group; I’m proud of our bite. … [The early goals] kind of set the tone for us and our con­trol. I’m one to say McDonogh is a pow­er­house, they al­ways will be, and now we have to go to their house.”

McDonogh and Spald­ing have won the past eight IAAM A cham­pi­onships, the Eagles claim­ing five and the Cava­liers cap­tur­ing three.

LLOYD FOX/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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