De­fense stars for Ea­gles, Blaz­ers

Back lines ex­cel in re­match of past two IAAM A Con­fer­ence ti­tle games

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Glenn Graham

The ma­jor­ity of the postgame com­pli­ments were di­rected to the de­fenses in Tues­day’s girls soc­cer show­down be­tween No. 3 McDonogh and No. 4 Notre Dame Prep. Rightly so. While there was some qual­ity buildup com­ing from both ends in a game that was well played and fairly even, the back lines on both sides firmly held their re­spec­tive ground in a 0-0 tie in a re­match of the past two In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion of Mary­land A Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship games.

With the draw, the three-time de­fend­ing league cham­pion Ea­gles (1-1-2) go to 1-1-1 in the IAAM. The vis­it­ing Blaz­ers (5-1-2) go to 2-0-2 in league play. They also played to a score­less tie against No. 1 Arch­bishop Spald­ing onThurs­day.

“It was a tough match,” Notre Dame Prep coach Val Teix­eira said. “McDonogh is al­ways a great team and they al­ways have a lot of kids that work ex­tremely hard. They’re very ath­letic, they can jump and they can run, so it was a good test for us. … McDonogh’s Mad­die Ebner (2) is sur­rounded by Notre Dame Prep play­ers Gil Eby (22) and Kee­gan Barger. “It was a tough match,” Blaz­ers coach Val Teix­eira said.

They dom­i­nated the first 25, 30 min­utes and then once we got our com­po­sure and I felt we were com­fort­able with the ball, and I think both team had a cou­ple chances, so the tie was a fair re­sult.”

The Ea­gles were reg­u­larly first to the ball in the game’s first 20 min­utes but were un­able to break through. Their best op­por­tu­nity came in the sev­enth minute when Abby VanMeter quickly turned to hit a left-footed shot from14 yards that was eas­ily han­dled by Blaz­ers se­nior goal­keeper Ash­ley Ga­bor, who made five saves.

Af­ter the Blaz­ers set­tled in, both teams pos­sessed the ball but gen­er­ated lit­tle, with tight mark­ing dom­i­nat­ing the fi­nal third of the fields. In the fi­nal minute of the first 10-minute over­time, Notre Dame Prep’s El­lie Curry had a ball set­tle on her foot at the 18-yard mark, but her hur­ried shot in traf­fic was sprayed high.

The Ea­gles, who lost the ma­jor­ity of their scor­ing punch to grad­u­a­tion in All-Metro stand­outs Brid­gette An­drze­jew­ski and Kia Rankin, are still find­ing their way in the of­fen­sive end.

“We know against NDP and Spald­ing it’s go­ing to be how the ball bounces, and we have to be a lit­tle more pre­cise in the fi­nal third to break them down,” McDonogh coach Harry Canel­lakis said.

“We think we can be as good as some of our pre­vi­ous teams with the group of play­ers we have. But it’s dif­fer­ent and we’re hop­ing some of the young kids in key po­si­tions ma­ture as the sea­son goes on. There’s noth­ing wrong with their level of com­pe­ti­tion or be­ing bat­tle tested. We looked sharp, but we just need to be sharper in the fi­nal third.”

For McDonogh, ju­nior Mad­die Jen­ner led the de­fense, with col­lec­tively tidy play also com­ing from Lily Stavisky, Emily Amero and Caitlin Hoff­man. Se­nior goalie Mar­garet Dono­van made three saves.

Teix­eira said his de­fense played well in front of Ga­bor, and he made sure to men­tion all the con­trib­u­tors: Luisa Man­gione, Brooke Barger, Mo­rayo Adene­gan, Macken­zie Chris­ten­son, Erica Car­pen­ter and Ananda Ja­gade­san.

With the A Con­fer­ence down to five teams, they all will play each other twice in a home-and-away reg­u­lar sea­son.

“I think play­ing each other twice is good. It gives every team an op­por­tu­nity to study each other and play home and away,” Teix­eira said. “The league is go­ing to be com­pet­i­tive.”

ALGERINA PERNA/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

The Ravens block a point-af­ter at­tempt by the Browns’ Pa­trick Mur­ray (2) in Week 2. The Ravens’ Tavon Young re­turned the ball 63 yards for a 2-point con­ver­sion.

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