By Chris Goldberg
BaltimoreLacrosseNews.com, Posted 3/19/15
Coach Chris Robinson says his McDonogh School girls’ lacrosse team does not talk much about streaks or championships at the outset of any season.
“We just want the kids to to reach their potential as a team and to get along as a team,” said Robinson. “It’s really about getting better every day and hopefully when you do those things, everything takes care of itself.”
Things have taken care of themselves quite well at McDonogh, which opens its season today with the first of three games in Georgia riding a 112-game win streak (national girls’ record) and six straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championships.
McDonogh, the obvious choice for the No. 1 spot in the STEPS Lacrosse North America Girls’ Rankings, plays tonight at Walton (6-1), the Georgia big-school runner in 2014. On Friday McDonogh plays a night game nearby at Milton (3-0), the five-time Georgia big-school state champion and No. 12 team in the STEPS Rankings. On Saturday McDonogh plays at Chattahoochee (4-2) before returning home to begin the IAAM season.
Once again, McDonogh (21-0 last year) is the team with the big “X” on its shoulders. What squad will be the one to end the streak? Will it end?
“We do bring it (the streak) up as coaches, but don’t care how many straight games we have won,” said Robinson. “It’s all about this team. What’s happened in the past can’t be changed or taken away or used to our advantage.
“The only thing it does is put a big target on our backs. What we do talk about with the kids is letting them know that if they do what they’re supposed to do, and have fun, that’s all we’re worried about. If some team beats us and plays a perfect game, it won’t be the end of the world. We don’t put pressure on the kids to maintain the streak.”
This year, as always, McDonogh has a strong group of senior standouts, led by Sophie Alecce (midfield, Virginia signee), Olivia Jenner (midfield, Duke), Elizabeth George (midfield, Princeton) and Kelsey Cummings (attack, Maryland). There are many others headed to D1 programs in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 classes and several freshmen that Robinson said will contribute immediately. The focus is always on the seniors, though.
“We try to emphasize the seniors; this is their team,” he said. “They have waited their turn and been through the program and the system. Olivia Jenner, Elizabeth George, Sophie Alecca and Kelsey Cummings are the co-captains and are the type of kids that when the going gets tough, can get it done.”
Robinson admits he’s lucky that the talent pool at McDonogh has not dropped since he arrived in 2005 with the program in the IAAM Division II. Robinson is an incredible 190-10 in his 10 years at McDonogh, which has gone undefeated while been named the “national” champion the past five years by all media outlets. Robinson formerly was head coach at Mt. Hebron, which was also a “national” champion in his tenure. His mark is 297-18-1 overall as a head coach.
“A part of our success is that we’ve had talent spread out throughout the classes,” he said. “The senior leaders show the way and it seems like the next generation of people just kind of take over.
“We always have upperclassmen lead and underclassmen – sophomores and freshman s well – that pick up what they’re doing. We haven’t had this one massive class where we’ve graduated so many and had that dropoff of talent.”
The IAAM is very strong this year, most agree. last year Severn School and then Roland Park gave the Eagles serious challenges in the league playoffs. McDonogh always plays a very tough non-league schedule; this year the Eagles play No. 4 Bishop Ireton (VA) and No. 20 Good Counsel (MD) as well as perennial Maryland public powers Mt. Hebron and Marriotts Ridge.
“This might be the most talented the league (IAAM) has been in the last couple years,” said Robinson. “Plus, everybody is jacked up fur us.”
McDonogh School girls’ lacrosse schedule
Thu 3/19 7:45 PM Walton H.S. (GA) (@ Walton H.S. (GA)
Fri 3/20 7:00 PM Milton H.S. (GA) (@ Milton H.S. (GA))
Sat 3/21 Chattahoochee High, (GA) (@ TBA)
Tue 3/24 4:00 PM Bryn Mawr School (Away)
Thu 3/26 4:00 PM Roland Park CS (Away)
Sat 3/28 1:30 PM Archbishop Spalding Home
Tue 3/31 4:00 PM Maryvale Preparatory School Home
Thu 4/2 4:00 PM Garrison Forest School Home
Tue 4/7 4:00 PM John Carroll School (Away)
Thu 4/9 4:00 PM St. Paul’s School for Girls (Away)
Sat 4/11 12:00 PM Bishop Ireton High School Home
Tue 4/14 4:00 PM St. Mary’s High School Home
Thu 4/16 4:00 PM Mount de Sales Academy (Away)
Sat 4/18 1:00 PM Mount Hebron Home
Mon 4/20 5:30 PM Good Counsel, MD (Away)
Tue 4/21 4:00 PM Severn School Home
Thu 4/23 4:00 PM Notre Dame Prep (Away)
Mon 4/27 6:15 PM Century High School (Away)
Thu 4/30 4:00 PM Marriotts Ridge High School Home
Fri 5/1/2015 IAAM Playoffs / 1st Round (@ TBA)
Tue 5/5/2015 IAAM Playoffs / Quarter-Finals (@ TBA)
Thu 5/7/2015 IAAM Playoffs / Semi-Finals (@ TBA)
Sun 5/10/2015 IAAM Championship (@ TBA)