There’s a new all-time record holding squad in girls lacrosse, and their streak of consecutive victories is going to awfully hard to catch.
As noted by the Baltimore Sun and a variety of other outlets, the Owings Mills (Md.) McDonogh School girls lacrosse team won its 74th consecutive game on Saturday, knocking off Newtown Square (Pa.) Episcopal School, 17-3, to surpass the previous mark of 73 consecutive victories held by Carle Place (N.Y.) High in the mid 1980s. The Eagles haven’t lost a single game since the 2009 season.
What’s more impressive than the sheer heft of McDonogh’s streak is the quality of opponent the team has knocked off on its journey through the record books. In 2013 alone, the team has already knocked off two other members of the preseason Nike/US Lacrosse girls top-25 … and those games weren’t even particularly close. McDonogh (yes, it’s ranked No. 1) knocked off preseason No. 11 Vero Beach (Fl.) High by a score of 12-6 and No. 19 Milton (Ga.) Academy 11-8.
The road ahead won’t get any easier, either. According to the Baltimore Sun, the team began the season with six teams in the preseason top-25 on their 19-game regular season schedule. More than half of the top-15 ranked teams in the Baltimore Sun’s regional top-15 also feature against McDonogh.
So, how can a team possibly face such tough opposition and continue to cruise to victories? The answer, according to McDonogh senior attacker Sammi Burgess, it’s all about focusing on one game, practice and even play at a time.
"[McDonogh head coach Chris Robinson] has always made it very clear that it's not really about the streak or anything like that," Burgess told the Sun. "It's about game-by-game situations. He wants the pressure to be off of us. Obviously, we would love to continue the streak, but it's really about focusing on the opponents that we play and playing good lacrosse rather than on keeping the dynasty going."
That focus is enhanced by a sense of complete buy-in among Robinson’s squads. According to the Sun, one key hallmark of McDonogh teams has been a deep bench, with as many 18 or 19 players receiving regular playing time every season. That’s a stark contrast with many prep lacrosse teams which lean heavily on nine starters (not counting a goalie) and rotate in as few as four or five other players.
Even more impressive is the percentage of those players who are truly “home grown.” While the school might add one or two significant players many years, an overwhelming majority of the squad’s best players have all come up through the McDonough school system, some from kindergarten.
That self-made squad dynamic makes the girls lacrosse team an incredible source of pride for the Maryland private school, even if the players who are earning the plaudits are usually too focused on the next game ahead to take stock in what they’ve achieved.
"Just because we win a lot doesn't mean we take this lightly," junior attacker Megan Whittle said. "I think playing in the league that we do prepares us for our out-of conference games and we have the mentality of one game at a time and improving after every game. There's really no chance for us to get cocky because we've got to wake up the next morning and play another really hard team."