In winning yesterday's girls soccer game, 3-1, over visiting and unranked Howard, No. 9 McDonogh survived a battle of mental and physical attrition.
The contest, played on an unseasonably hot day, matched two teams whose repertoire include crisp, one-touch passing and solid defense.
In the end, however, the Eagles (5-0) emerged victorious with more firepower -- scoring two goals in the game's final four minutes -- and an edge on defense.
"I think in the end, we just got tired and gave up," said Howard's junior striker Shannon Bagrosky, who gave the Lions a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the game.
"I think today, they showed a little more heart than we did."
The teams were even in nearly every category, with the Eagles enjoying an edge in shots (10-9) and corners (5-3). McDonogh goalie Sarah Mannekin and Howard's Julie Lovell stopped six shots each.
The difference was goals by McDonogh's top scoring freshman Laurie Schwoy (seven goals, five assists) and senior Sonia Chase, giving the Eagles an 18-3 scoring advantage this season.
"This was a very important game for us, because even though we're ranked No. 9, people still say us little rich girls can't play," said sophomore midfielder Alaina Lawson, who was playing her first game since recovering from a stress fracture in her left leg.
"It took us a while to get going, but the whole team was really up for it."
Bagrosky displayed the skills that have made her a three-time member of the Olympic Developmental regional team and DTC two-time All-County. Fullback Camille Powell, her All-County teammate, served a pass from midfield, which Bagrosky gathered in near the left corner. She then juked defender Hope Odell and fired a low, right-footed shot into the s right-hand side of the goal.
From there, however, Odell teamed with Lawson to mark Bagrosky, who was hampered by a hamstring injury that forced her to miss a week of practice. The Eagles' offense, meanwhile, gathered steam behind senior striker Debbie Johnson and junior midfielder Allison Schoeder
Lawson was a catalyst in the scoring of the game-tying goal with six minutes to go in the half. She deflected a corner kick by freshman Susie Pitt to junior Christina Coroneos, who then raced through a cluster of defenders in the box and ripped a low one home.
Schwoy spent most of the game working to free herself from the Lions' quadruple coverage. The 5-foot, 96-pound striker had been consistently marked by four bigger players who bumped her off the ball for the game's first 76 minutes. She finally broke free, about 5 yards from the top of the penalty area, when she received a Schoeder pass from midfield.
A quick chest-trap plopped the ball in front of her, a subtle head fake shook off defender Sharon Ford, and Schwoy spun the other way and looped a curling volley inside the right-hand post.
"Their goalie was hanging out of the goal all during the game," said Schwoy. "I knew that all I had to do was get a long ball over her head."
Two minutes later Chase knocked in the insurance goal off another corner kick from Pitt.
"Debbie Johnson was marking the goalie and I was just standing around the eight when it started coming toward me," said Chase. "Somebody mis-kicked the ball and I just finished it when it counted."