2016 IAAM A CONFERENCE
FIELD HOCKEY CHAMPIONS
MCDONOGH SCHOOL EAGLES
McDonogh School and Notre Dame Prep would have been hard pressed to produce a game with more of a dramatic conclusion than the one they staged in the final game of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference regular season just over a week ago.
That’s when freshman attacker Blake Cunneen scored with 23 seconds left in regulation to give McDonogh a taut 1-0 victory over the Blazers. But the rivals outdid themselves in the league championship game Friday night at Stevenson University’s Mustang Stadium.
In a wild finish on an untimed penalty corner after the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard clock, sophomore attacker Katelyn Whittle slapped in a shot on an assist from senior midfielder Andie Aldave to give the fifth-ranked Eagles (15-4, 9-4 conference) another 1-0 triumph and their second title in three years.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “I barely remember it, but it’s just so awesome.”
“We were getting tired in the first half (against NDP). We just fought as hard as we could in the second half,” Whittle added. “We worked so hard, we pushed so hard. This is all we’ve been playing for this season.”
In the second half, Lowe was also up to the task when she stopped a high and hard backhander by senior Parker Wolf with six minutes left in regulation. Earlier in the period, Cunneen barely missed wide from a sever angle near the goal.
The Blazers (14-5) had a couple of near-misses as well, including a wicked drive by sophomore midfielder Rachel Borzymowski that caromed off the pads of McDonogh senior goalie Nadia Hyatt.
In the first five minutes of the opening half, NDP was forcing the issue by earning three of their eight penalty corners. Still, for the second game in a row, the Blazers came up empty against McDonogh’s tough defense.
Notre Dame Prep coach Katrina Ross knew coming into the game that the Eagles are very good at stopping set pieces.
“They have a very good corner unit,” she said.
“The hockey at this level just doesn’t get any better than this,” she said about the game and her team’s performance. “I inherited a lot of very talented veteran players and we have a lot of young hockey heads, too. They meshed and gelled. For us to come from being unranked to the being ranked in the top 10….we just had a great season.”
So did McDonogh, which welcomed a new coach this season in Wolf, its third in as many seasons. The Eagles, who’ve been in the final the last four seasons, lost to Spalding in the 2015 title match.
“We stuck to our game, and played good, fundamental defense,” Whittle said. “We all ran our hearts out. We did everything we could.”
McDonogh 0 1 – 1
Goal: McDonogh – Katelyn Whittle
Saves: McDonogh – Nadia Hyatt 3; Notre Dame Prep – Lucy Lowe 4