McDonogh's girls lacrosse team extended its winning streak to 96 games Friday afternoon, but Severn and goalie Meredith Brown didn't make it easy.
Brown made 17 saves against an impatient Eagles attack that relied on a five-goal, mid-game run to propel them to a 9-6 victory over the No. 6 Admirals in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference game.
No. 1 McDonogh (5-0, 2-0 conference) broke a 4-4 tie with goals from Megan Whittle and Miranda McCoy in the final minute of the second half. A yellow card against Severn carried over into the second half and Whittle fed Brindi Griffin for a man-up goal just 50 seconds into the half.
Anne Smith and Olivia Jenner made it 9-4 less than three minutes later.
"At the end of the first half, we were able to get some momentum off the draw controls," said Jenner, who took the draws as the Eagles won 12 in the game and eight of the last nine. "Once that happened, we were just able to settle down. They played great defense throughout the whole game, but once we got those quick draw controls, we were able to play our game."
The five-time defending A Conference champions outshot Severn, 33-16, but Brown frustrated them again and again.
"We took a lot of ill advised shots," Eagles coach Chris Robinson said. "The goalie was hot and we needed to be a lot more patient and get higher percentage shots."
The host Admirals (3-2, 2-2) held McDonogh scoreless for the final 21:16 of the game, but they managed only a couple of free-position goals from Caroline Steele, who led Severn with three goals.
"We were winning a bunch [of draws early] when we could get it away from the girl who was taking them, Olivia Jenner," Steele said, "and then she just started to draw to herself and we started losing them. They started scoring a few goals and it's just hard to get back from that."
The Admirals closed a pair of two-goal Eagles leads in the first half, lastly when Maddie McDaniel scored a free-position goal and then fed Ally Hall to tie at 4 with 1:46 left.
Up to that point, Severn won five of the eight draws. After that, McDonogh won eight straight, helping them set up their decisive five-goal run.
The Eagles, who have been ranked No. 1 in the country for four straight years, have not lost since April 2009 when they fell to Canandaigua (N.Y.). They haven't lost to a Maryland team since John Carroll beat them in the 2008 IAAM A Conference championship.
After graduating 17 seniors, McDonogh started the season with three wins over nationally-ranked teams while on spring break in Florida.
They topped Vero Beach (Fla.), 12-8, for the second year in a row and defeated Georgetown Visitation, from Washington, D.C., 21-10, and Harriton (Pa.), 18-8. All were ranked in the Top 10 of the preseason Student Sports FAB 50, with McDonogh No. 1 and Vero Beach No. 2.
Draw control proved vital then, too, with dominant play by Jenner and her teammates on the circle, Elizabeth George and Savannah Buchanan. All-Metro attacker Whittle, who had three goals and an assist against Severn, scored 15 goals in the three games.
The Eagles are getting close to challenging for the area's longest win streak as they head toward the record of 103 set by Loch Raven in 1982 and tied by Mount Hebron in 2007.
1McDonogh 9, 6Severn 6
Goals: M—Whittle 3, Smith 3, McCoy, Griffin, Jenner; S—Steele 3, Igler, McDaniel, Hall. Assists: M—Whittle, Cummings; S—McDaniel. Saves: M—Cadoux 5, S—Brown 17. Half: M, 6-4.