After reaching the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference lacrosse championship every year since 2008, McDonogh was absent from the 2022 final.

On Tuesday in Owings Mills, the No. 1 Eagles booked a return trip to the event by overwhelming fourth-ranked Glenelg Country School, 13-4, in an A Conference semifinal.

McDonogh will meet No. 2 St. Paul’s School for Girls on Friday night at USA Lacrosse’s Tierney Field in Sparks for a chance to avenge a 17-8 loss to the Gators in the 2021 final.

St. Paul’s hammered third-ranked Maryvale, 16-4, to set up the showdown against the Eagles, who will be looking to claim their record-11th A Conference crown.

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Glenelg Country (14-4, 11-3 conference), which fell to St. Paul’s in last year’s final, could never get untracked on Tuesday against a McDonogh team that jetted to a 5-0 advantage on goals by junior midfielders Kate Levy, Remi Schaller and Amanda Lawson, senior attacker Makena London and freshman midfielder Ayiana Rippin in the first 14 minutes.

While the offense was producing an early big lead, the defense was suffocating the Dragons at the other end of the field.

Glenelg Country senior attacker Regan Byrne finally managed to solve freshman goalie Reagan O’Donovan with just over three minutes left in the first half, although the Eagles (19-1, 14-0) added goals by Schaller and Lawson before the Dragons could retaliate on junior Maggie Flanagan’s strike early in the second period.

By that time, trailing 7-2, Glenelg Country could not afford to trade goals with the Eagles — the Dragons had to play catch-up against a backline that was mostly against that idea.

“We really like to work together,” freshman defender Kit Laake said. “Even if something was going wrong, even if we made mistakes, the good things cancel out mistakes. We’ve been really focused as a team, and I think we prepared very well for this.”

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Senior defender Codi Johnson said that the Eagles tried to stay in the moment and rally around each other.

“We had to respect our opponent, and scout for them,” she said about the Dragons. “We had to have each other’s backs because no one’s perfect.”

Freshman Kit Laake (left) and senior Codi Johnson were part of a suffocating McDonogh defense that held Glenelg Country School to its lowest scoring output of the season in an IAAM A Conference semifinal on Tuesday in Owings Mills. The Eagles prevailed, 13-4. (Nelson Coffin)

McDonogh coach Taylor Cummings said she was particularly proud of the Eagles’ defensive effort.

“To hold such a talented Glenelg Country School offense to four goals is just a huge testament to our defensive unit, our goalie and our defensive coordinator Meg Nicotra,” she said. “Offensively, we had some great moments and some moments that are great for our growth as well, where we can make that growth from today to Friday. Overall, very pleased with our effort.”

McDonogh rattled off three more goals to go up, 10-2, with Schaller breaking through twice and sophomore midfielder Payton Magday once before Byrne netted her final goal.

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Although junior midfielder Nichelle Desbordes broke through to make it, 10-4, four minutes later, time ran out on the Dragons’ season after they were shut out over the final 10 minutes.

In her final game after an outstanding 24-year career coaching at Glenelg Country, Paige Walton would not sugarcoat the loss.

“They were very good today, and we just didn’t have it,” she said. “Hats off to them and good luck to them.”

For a program that began in the IAAM C Conference and boasts an 84-25 record since joining the A Conference in 2017, Walton deserves major kudos.

“It was all the wonderful people we were able to coach along the way and to coach with along the way,” she said. “It’s always been a great group and I feel extremely, extremely blessed to be able to do it for 24 years.”

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GCS 1 3 — 4

McD 5 8 — 13

Goals: GCS-Regan Byrne 2, Maggie Flanagan, Nichelle Desbordes; McD-Remi Schaller 4, Amanda Lawson 2, Kate Levy 2, Payton Magday 2, Ayiana Rippin, Makena London, Sophia Trahan.Assists: GCS-Lily Fortin; McD-Amada Lawson, Caroline Lockyer.

Saves: GCS-Natalie Eastwood 7; McD-Reagan O’Donovan 5.

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