The way McDonogh dominated at John Carroll, one could argue the visiting Eagles deserved the victory they left with yesterday.
One could also argue, however, the Patriots' defense, particularly keeper Maggie Pyzik, did not deserve to lose
But after a scoreless regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods, the No. 7 Eagles (18-4-2) edged the No. 3 Patriots (17-4) by a margin of 7-5 in penalty kicks as darkness and a slight drizzle descended on the players.
The Interscholastic Association of Maryland A Conference semifinal win ousted last year's champs, and moved McDonogh, last year's runner-up, into Sunday's title game against St. Mary's, which beat Notre Dame Prep, 2-0.
Of its penalty kicks, McDonogh missed one and had two others stopped by Pyzik (15 saves). The Eagles' Mary Beth Creed, Ali Andrzejewski, Katie Nelson, Dee Dziewanowski, Christina Spearman, Megan Reidy and Jamey Dorsey all made their penalty kicks.
Pyzik, Marykathryn Sullivan, Lindsey Syphard, Shannon Seipp and Liz Saul slipped their kicks past McDongh's Mariel Wilner (7 saves). But Wilner stopped one shot and four others missed the mark completely.
"It's a great feeling when you do save it, because that means you came up big and I was able to do that today," said Wilner, a junior. "But as a keeper, there's almost no pressure on you during PK's because they're supposed to score on you."
McDonogh led 5-2 in penalty kicks, but John Carroll pulled to within 5-4, and seemed ready to pull even after Pyzik made her second save of the penalty kick session. But the Patriots' ninth shooter missed, and McDonogh made two shots against one for John Carroll. With one shooter left for each team, the 7-5 deficit was insurmountable.
Wilner credited defenders Nelson, Dorsey, Jamie Hupp and Nikki Bell for limiting the Patriots' offense.
Pyzik was equally strong behind defenders Seipp, Sullivan, Kerry Van Shura and Morgon Russell. Van Shura shadowed Andrzejewski, step for step.
"She's really strong when she has the ball, and I did my best to keep her from getting the ball," Van Shura said. "Andrzejewski, a national team player, still fired 11 shots on goal, including nine of McDongh's first eleven. Dziewanowski fired eight shots for McDonogh, which had a 21-8 advantage in shots heading into penalty kicks.
In the second half, Andrzejewski ripped a 20-yarder from Pyzik's right. The keeper followed it. Then, after leaping up and to her left, Pyzik used her fist, batting up and away a ball that was destined for the near corner.
In the first overtime, Pyzik recovered from a shot by Dziewanowski that bounced off the far post to an oncoming Marisa Deline. Deline's running header, from about eight yards, would have landed had Pyzik not dove to her left and grabbed it while lying on the ground.