By: Wells Dusenbury
Over the past three years, the Vero Beach girls lacrosse program has put together one of the most impressive runs the state has ever seen, winning 69 consecutive games. The streak came to a close Wednesday night though, as the Fighting Indians fell to McDonogh (MD.), the top ranked team in the country, 15-5.
"That's why they're number one," said Vero Beach head coach Shannon Dean. "They have the offense and the defense. It's pretty impressive."
The loss was Vero Beach's first since 2009. The Fighting Indians' win streak was the longest in the nation, with McDonogh having the second longest streak at 52 straight wins.
Vero Beach hung with McDonogh in the first half, trailing 8-4 heading into the locker room, but couldn't keep up in the second. The Eagles, who have 14 players committed to Division 1 schools, went on a 7-0 run to start the half and put the game out of reach.
"That's the depth," Dean said. "We just don't have the horses and they just had them and they continuously came at us."
McDonogh erupted out of the gate, scoring the first three goals, including a highlight-reel behind-the-back goal from University of Maryland commit Megan Whittle.
Katy Pridemore put the Fighting Indians on the board 10 minutes into the game to cut the deficit to two. McDonogh then ran off three straight goals before Pridemore's sister, Hannah, scored to make it 6-2. After two more goals from the Eagles to take an 8-2 lead, Vero Beach answered just before the half with back-to-back goals from Allison Modica and Lucy Sexton.
From there, McDonogh took over on their decisive second half run. Despite the loss, Dean remained upbeat after the game.
"It's a win-win. If we would have won it would have been a great win, but even though we lost, we got the experience to play a team like this," said Dean.
"This is just going to catapult us for the rest of the season."
The game had an atmosphere rarely seen in girls lacrosse, with fans packing the stadium like it was a Friday night in the fall. Vero Beach athletic director Lenny Jankowski estimated between 1500-1800 fans were in attendance.
"This is not what we normally have. Something like this is pretty darn impressive," Dean said. "It was neat, the girls loved it. The coaches, we all had a blast seeing the fan base that came out."
Vero Beach now has nine days off before they hit the field again and try to start another streak.
"I'm a little nervous for the rest of the teams we have to face, because these girls are going to come back hungry."
VIDEO: Highlights from the game
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