'Fired up' McDonogh field hockey beats Archbishop Spalding, 3-2

NO. 2 MCDONOGH 3, NO. 1 ARCHBISHOP SPALDING 2

No. 2 Eagles lost to No. 1 Cavaliers in IAAM A Conference final last season

September 18, 2014|By Rich Scherr | For The Baltimore Sun

Players on the McDonogh field hockey team say they never openly talked about last year's overtime loss to Archbishop Spalding in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference final.

In Thursday's rematch, however, the Eagles left little doubt that it was on the top of their minds.

Led by a goal and assist by junior Brindi Griffin, No. 2 McDonogh stormed out of the gate to build a three-goal lead early in the second half, then held off a furious comeback attempt by top-ranked Spalding to preserve a 3-2 win, ending the Cavaliers' 17-game winning streak.

"We didn't really talk about [losing in the finals], but it just fired us up even more," Griffin said. "I think that's why we came out so strong and so excited in the beginning."

"We knew we could've won that game, and we just didn't finish," Eagles coach Halyna Fried said of last year's final. "So we were hoping to finish today, and we did."

That was particularly true in the first half. McDonogh (5-0-1) — which was coming off a disappointing tie with Bryn Mawr on Tuesday — took the lead just 6:14 into the game, when senior Annie Cohen scored off a penalty corner.

The Eagles then extended their lead with 12:31 to play before halftime, when Griffin scored off another corner, and made it 3-0 when senior Elizabeth George knocked in her own rebound early in the second half.

"It was a really pretty transition," said George of her goal. "As soon as we got it into the circle, we just got some lucky taps, and it went off a stick into the goal."

Spalding (5-1), meanwhile, failed to take advantage of numerous scoring chances, going 0-for-15 on penalty corners and time and again missing prime opportunities in the circle.

"I though we got off to a slow start. The first half just didn't look like us," Cavaliers coach Leslee Brady said. "The second half, I thought we dominated. We went down swinging. But you get into a 3-1 hole against a team this good, in hockey that's hard to overcome."

After being shut out for the first 35:12, the defending conference champions finally got on the board when sophomore Kyler Greenwalt scored off a rebound, then cut the lead to one with 8:55 left on a goal by senior Kat Turner.

But as Spalding continued to battle down the stretch, it was continuously denied by McDonogh goalie Hannah Gizzi, who finished with 15 saves.

"Our goalie was phenomenal," Fried said. "Hannah Gizzi made some unbelievable saves, and our defense was very strong, as well."

For Spalding, the game brought back memories of another early-season loss last season against Garrison Forest. The Cavaliers never lost again, ending the season with 12 straight wins.

"It's just like last year, when we lost pretty early on to Garrison Forest," Brady said. "It was a little bit of a wake-up call, and it gave us an idea of what we really needed to work on."

McDonogh 3, Spalding 2

Goals: S-Greenwalt, Turner; M-Cohen, Griffin, George. Assists: S-Brisolari; M-Griffin, Rockefeller. Saves: S-Nemecek 10; M-H. Gizzi 15. Half: McDonogh, 2-0

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