McDonogh earns `A' grade for perfect conference run

Eagles complete 12-0 IAAM season with win over John Carroll

No. 2 McDonogh 9 No. 7 John Carroll 6

Girls lacrosse

May 01, 2007|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN REPORTER

Two months ago, the McDonogh girls lacrosse players never thought about going through the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference regular season unbeaten.

That seemed a high goal for a team that had to rebuild a good bit, but yesterday the No. 2 Eagles (17-1) put the finishing touch on a 12-0 A Conference record with a 9-6 win over No. 7 John Carroll in Bel Air.

"It's amazing," senior midfielder Kirstyn Atkinson said. "At the beginning of the season - not saying that I doubted us but - it was a big change from last year. No one ever saw this coming. It was just kind of one game at a time."

In the past two weeks, coach Chris Robinson's Eagles defeated their top two challengers for the A Conference regular-season title and earned the top seed for next week's tournament. No. 4 Bryn Mawr finishes second at 10-2 in the conference, and John Carroll (10-3 overall) ends up third at 9-3.

Running the table in the A Conference is rare, because of its overall strength. Seven of 13 teams in the conference are ranked in The Sun's Top 15.

"That's very impressive, that they've been able to do it, extremely impressive," John Carroll coach Krystin Porcella said. "Day in and day out, it's tough competition. There are no easy games, and I think that's what makes our conference special and unique."

Yesterday, the Eagles came through with a big second half to break away from a 4-4 halftime tie. The Patriots, who got two goals from Jen Zoltoski, controlled the draws and the ground balls early, but that changed after the break.

The Eagles won four of the first five draws and took off on a 5-1 run capped by Casey Kelly's free-position goal for a 9-5 lead with 8:06 to go.

With balance up and down the field, the Eagles have great team chemistry but no true stars. Yesterday, however, the game ball might have gone to backup goalie Megan Fiorito, who made critical saves down the stretch to keep the Eagles in command. Taking over for starter Julia Schreiber, who suffered a concussion in a soccer game Sunday night, Fiorito made four of her seven saves in the final 10:30 of the game.

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