Nike/US Lacrosse Mid-Atlantic Girls' Season Rewind
by Mike Loveday | LaxMagazine.com
1. McDonogh (Md.), 21-0
2. Moorestown (N.J.), 26-0
3. Bishop Ireton (Va.), 20-4
4. St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.), 27-2
5. Roland Park (Md.), 16-4
6. Notre Dame Prep (Md.), 10-5
7. Georgetown Visitation (D.C.), 17-8
8. Good Counsel (Md.), 14-6
9. Severn School (Md.), 14-4
10. Garnet Valley (Pa.), 24-2
Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year
Megan Whittle, McDonogh (Md.)
It was July 23, 2012 and then No. 1 McDonogh (Md.) was taking on No. 2 Garden City (N.Y.) in a marquee game at the Maryland vs. New York challenge. Future Maryland Terrapin Taylor Cummings was the star player for the Eagles, but it was a sophomore that stepped up and led McDonogh in scoring with an astounding seven goals.
That Garden City game was a breakout performance for Megan Whittle and signaled a passing of the torch for the next great player at McDonogh.
"She went from being a complimentary player to one of the best players in the country," McDonogh coach Chris Robinson said. "She complimented the group as a sophomore but as her junior year went on she was the leading scorer in the area."
Whittle has been four year player on a McDonogh team that has won 112 straight games and has been the No. 1 team in the nation in each of the last five years. The Eagles have become not only the most dominant girls' program in the country, but arguably the top high school program overall.
Being the best player on the nation's best team is a large reason why Whittle earned US Lacrosse Mid-Atlantic Region Player of the Year honors.
Players like Whittle is a large reason why the Eagles have gone an impressive 80-0 since 2011 and have won six straight IAAM Conference championships - Whittle has been part of the program for the last four.
Whittle's started her career in 2011 with a 40 goal, 10 assist season and followed it up with 50 goals and 18 assists as a sophomore. With Whittle taking over as the main threat after the graduation of Cummings, the attacker upped the ante by scoring 73 goals and 14 assists as a junior.
By 2014 she had developed into the nation's No. 1 attacker and widely considered the best player in the nation. She routinely faced opponent's best defender and despite playing some of the best teams in the country, she thrived.
The Eagles started 2014 against three nationally ranked opponents and Whittle led the team in each one.
In a game against nationally ranked Vero Beach (Fla.) she scored five goals despite it being the first game of the year for McDonogh and the 10th game of the season for Vero. She repeated her onslaught one day later in a 21-10 win over nationally ranked Georgetown Visitation (D.C.). She followed those games up with four goals against the 2013 PIAA champion, Harriton (Pa.). McDonogh outscored their first three opponents by a combined score of 51-26.
"She developed into the best player in the country over those four years. Freshman year she was pretty tiny. I wasn't sure she was going to develop. By sophomore year she got a lot stronger. Sophomore year the door opened up and you could see she was going to be the next in line." Robinson said. "Megan would be in the weight room and our football coaches would comment on how hard she was working in the weight room. She never stood still for anything."
This year Whittle tallied 93 goals and 22 assists, which included a five goal game and the game-winner in a 13-12 win over Severn School (Md.) in the IAAM A semifinals. She scored three goals and had two assists in the conference championship game, a 16-13 win over nationally ranked Roland Park (Md.).
Whittle's capped her career with 256 goals and 64 assists and earned Baltimore Sun All-Metro Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year honors in addition to being named an Under Armour All-American and All-Conference honors for the IAAM. She has been a three-time All-Metro selection.
"As an attacker she's the best scorer I've ever coached," Robinson said. "When we needed a big goal on the board, she was the best."
Whittle moves on to play with the 2014 NCAA Division I champion Maryland Terrapins where she will rejoin former McDonogh teammate Cummings.
Spotlight On ...
The 2013 season ended abruptly for Garnet Valley (Pa.). The reigning 2011 and 2012 PIAA champions were ousted from the playoffs by Strath Haven, 7-6, in the District I playback game and ended their chance for a three-peat.
They entered 2014 not as the favorite, with 2013 champion Harriton (Pa.) returning much of the team that won it all, but the Jaguars roared through the state to win their third title in four years with a 13-9 win over Springfield-Delco (Pa.) in the championship game.
"I've never worked with a group of kids that love lacrosse that much. They look forward to fall ball and winter league workouts. They wanted to get better everyday - they wanted to go one more time in the drill. It makes it easy as a coach," coach Jennifer Purvis said. "This is a very different group of kids that won the two previous titles. We only had one or two starters from a previous team so this was a new group of girls that worked together to win a state championship."
Garnet Valley outscored Springfield-Delco 7-3 in the first half and were led by Emily Matthewson who tallied eight points on five goals and three assists and Haley Warden had six points on five goals and one assist in the victory. Goalie Paige Mitros made 12 saves.
Springfield-Delco came out in the second half with three quick goals and cut the lead to 7-6 before Warden scored two-straight goals followed by two goals from the sophomore Matthewson to extend the lead to 12-6 with 7:49 remaining.
"She's [Matthewson] just been so steady for us this year. She's come up big in huge games," Purvis said. "When we lost to Springfield she was the one that kept us in it. She holds the ground that we need her to hold. She plays past the maturity that belies her age."
The only losses for the Jaguars this season were by a combined two goals to Good Counsel (Md.) and Springfield-Delco in the district championship game.
"To some extent the losses were beneficial. They proved we were not unbeatable. That made us more responsibility on them so they couldn't expect to win," Purvis said. "Teams weren't going to give things to us easily. To be able to see where our mistakes were really helped build us and help us grow."
2014 Mid-Atlantic Region Report Archive
- February 25 - Preseason Top 10/Player of the Year Watch List
- March 25
- April 1
- April 8
- April 15
- April 22
- April 29
- May 6
- May 13
- May 20
- May 27
- June 3
- June 10
- June 17
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