An­other tight game ends with Ea­gles win

McDonogh tops de­fend­ing cham­pion Spald­ing, 3-1

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Brian Bur­den

The two reg­u­lar-sea­son field hockey games be­tween Arch­bishop Spald­ing and McDonogh went to over­time, each team win­ning once, but Na­dia Hy­att and Al­lie Weiner did not want to wait that long this time around.

Hy­att made14 saves while Weiner scored twice, once in each half, on penalty strokes, as No. 5 McDonogh elim­i­nated No. 2 Spald­ing, the de­fend­ing In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion of Mary­land A Con­fer­ence cham­pion, 3-1, in a semi­fi­nal in Sev­ern on Wed­nes­day.

McDonogh (15-5) will take on No. 6 Notre Dame Prep, a 2-1 dou­ble-over­time win­ner over Gar­ri­son For­est, at Steven­son on Fri­day night at 7. The Ea­gles won the 2014 ti­tle be­tween Spald­ing’s 2013 and 2015 crowns.

“I felt like this was the cham­pi­onship game be­cause we are so used to see­ing Spald­ing in that en­vi­ron­ment,” McDonogh coach Denise Wolf said. “The strokes got us ahead. I hate hav­ing them in the game, but they worked to our ad­van­tage.”

The Cava­liers gained the mo­men­tum right away, con­trol­ling the ball in McDonogh’s end most of the first nine min­utes.

“We dom­i­nated the open­ing min­utes, and it could have been 2-0 early on, but it did not hap­pen that way,” Spald­ing coach Leslee Brady said. “Some­times the ball just does not bounce your way.”

It bounced the Ea­gles’ way as a break­out led to McDonogh’s first scor­ing op­por­tu­nity. Spald­ing goalie Me­gan Ne­me­cek, who had six saves, came out and tried to stop a shot that went wide, hit­ting a McDonogh player. Al­though Brady dis­agreed with the call, the Ea­gles were awarded the penalty stroke­and Weiner con­verted it.

“Those first few min­utes, when they came down fast, we were fraz­zled,” Weiner said. “As a team, we looked around and knew we could come back, so we started push­ing up and be­ing more ag­gres­sive. We are a unit, and that is what gave us some op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

The Cava­liers had sev­eral more op­por­tu­ni­ties in the first half, in­clud­ing four cor­ners, but could not score. Some shots went wide. Some were stopped by Hy­att, who Wolf said had an “amaz­ing game.”

“We spent so much time on our de­fen­sive cor­ners in prac­tice be­cause we knew Spald­ing would give us trou­ble in that area,” Hy­att said. “We came out and played how we prac­ticed.”

Margot Lawn got Spald­ing even early in the sec­ond half, get­ting her stick around on a pass from Jenna Gar­den in midair just more than five min­utes in. The goal was Lawn’s team-lead­ing 29th, on Gar­den’s team-lead­ing 14th as­sist.

“Margot has been great for us all year and that was just an­other great goal by her,” Brady said.

Less than three min­utes later, the Ea­gles got a sec­ond penalty stroke, which Weiner again con­verted.

“It was a huge mo­men­tum boost for us to get the first goal of a game that has gone to over­time the last few times we have played,” Hy­att said. “To do it again, and get that sec­ond goal, re­ally just ce­mented ev­ery­thing we knew we were ca­pa­ble of do­ing.”

Hy­att made the lead stick, mak­ing stop af­ter stop, in­clud­ing a big one with 17 min­utes left on Spald­ing’s Han­nah Bouchard in the left cor­ner.

“Na­dia was on fire to­day,” Wolf said. “She was very vo­cal back there di­rect­ing the de­fense, and we have been work­ing at keep­ing the ball off our feet to pre­vent them from get­ting as many cor­ners as they nor­mally have.”

Emma Schet­tig gave the Ea­gles a cush­ion by con­vert­ing a cross from Andie Al­dave with 12 min­utes to play. As the game ended, the Ea­gles came to­gether quickly and con­grat­u­lated one an­other, then be­gan to fo­cus on the task at hand.

“We need to get ready for prac­tice to­mor­row and the game Fri­day night,” Weiner said.

The Cava­liers won the A Con­fer­ence reg­u­lar-sea­son ti­tle, but Brady noted how close the con­fer­ence has been this year.

“The top four teams that you saw in the semi­fi­nals, those are the right four teams,” Brady said. “We have beaten each other up all sea­son. I am sad for our se­niors, but we had a great year.”

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