LANHAM – Oxon Hill High School Girls Lacrosse Head Coach Turner McManus knows that Faith Gray, Deysi Aguilar and Ayanna McDonald are his team’s playmakers.
The trio made things happens throughout Saturday’s (April 6) game at DuVal High School, and it was McDonald who put the exclamation mark on a decisive win.
With 1:30 remaining in the second half, McDonald caught the ball around midfield and weaved her way through the Tiger defense.
As multiple players began to close in, she effortlessly danced around them, before firing a shot into the back of the net and finishing off a hat trick. She proved to be the catalyst of a commanding win for the Lady Clippers (5-0), who bested DuVal (0-5), 14-5.
“They’re usually the best on the field,” McManus said. “When they get playing together and get in a groove, it’s good that they’re on our side.”
Gray, Aguilar and McDonald scored 13 of Oxon Hill’s 14 goals, all of which were unassisted. While McDonald created trouble on the offensive end, Gray and Aguilar were dominant all over the field.
Besides scoring six goals, Gray was a force on draw controls and had no trouble weaving her way through multiple Tiger defenders. Aguilar added four goals of her own and was a weapon on clears, streaking down the field to set up the Lady Clippers offense.
“We try to be the best that we can be and be a good example of our teammates of how to pass, catch and make plays, how to score and where to score and good sportsmanship always,” Gray said.
Although Oxon Hill eventually took over the game, it was DuVal who struck first. Daisha Crawford rifled in a free position shot, giving the Tigers the early lead.
DuVal looked to run their offense through Crawford as much as possible, and she finished with a team-high four goals. But the Lady Clippers started to focus on her as the game went on, and the Tigers struggled to adjust. After scoring less than three minutes into the first half, DuVal didn’t score another goal for nearly 16 minutes.
“They were tough,” Crawford said of Oxon Hill’s defense. “Once you do it once, they realize your pattern. They double team you, they triple team you, they stay in front of you and they cut you off a lot of times so sometimes you have to switch up your positions and tactics a lot.”
With the Tigers struggling, Oxon Hill went on a 6-0 run to bust the game wide open. Two minutes after Crawford scored the game’s opening goal, Gray responded with two in less than a minute. Aguilar scored her first three minutes later, and McDonald added her first off the ensuing draw, forcing Tigers coach John O’Hara to call timeout with 15:49 remaining in the first half.
But the Lady Clippers continued to control possession after that, and Gray finished off a first-half hat trick to extend the lead to 5-1. Crawford scored again for DuVal with 7:49 to go in the first half, but that was the closest the Tigers would get for the rest of the afternoon. Oxon Hill reeled off four goals in a row, including four in the final 1:27 of the first half to take a commanding 9-2 halftime lead.
“The biggest thing about an inexperienced team is we’re going to come across games like this,” O’Hara said. “We’re going to come across games that are tough for us, and we have to keep trying to persevere.”
Goals from Crawford and Shaundell Smartt cut the Lady Clippers lead to 9-4 with 19:50 remaining, but they made sure there would be no DuVal comeback. Gray scored her fifth goal of the game less than two minutes later, and Tochi Iwuji got on the board with 12:59 to go to all but wrap up the victory.
“It’s good to see my other teammates score because that exciting moment that I feel when I shoot, I want others to feel it too,” Aguilar said.
Despite another loss, O’Hara says he can see his young team improving. More than half of DuVal’s starters are freshmen, many of whom have never played lacrosse before.
“Our defense is getting better, we’re getting better at moving into (offensive) position,” O’Hara said. “So things are looking positive for the rest of the season.”