McDonogh junior midfielder Maddie Jenner is perhaps the best high school player in the entire nation when it comes to the draw, winning 182 matchups for the Eagles last season. She also had 23 goals and 14 assists for McDonogh, which is riding a 155-game winning streak. Jenner competed in the Under Armour Underclass Tournament and has committed to Duke.
What did you like best about playing in the Under Armour Underclass Tournament? How was the camaraderie with the players, especially among those who compete against one another in high school?
Maddie Jenner: It was really fun to be teammates with girls I had played against during high school and club lacrosse. There was a great sense of camaraderie as we all came together representing Baltimore. We all shared the same goal of winning the underclass tournament.
What was the key for you to be able win so many draws last season? How did that set the tone for your team?
MJ: I think there were two components to last season. First, having the experience of taking some draws my freshman year was crucial, as it allowed me to work on my technique. Second, last preseason, I got physically stronger, which helped me better direct the ball and not get pushed around compared to my freshman year. When we win the draw we can immediately start our offense and control the game. Against strong completion, possession makes a big difference.
Do this year's players at McDonogh feel added pressure to maintain the Eagles' record winning streak?
MJ: Although there is some pressure to maintain the streak, it is not greater than previous years. Our philosophy is to take each game one at a time and to not look past any teams.
How do you balance your time with athletics and the tough academics at McDonogh?
MJ: Having a lot of commitments forces me to manage my time. Many other people at McDonogh spend a lot of time with extracurriculars, so there is a lot of support.
What went into your decision to commit early to Duke? What makes the school so appealing to you?
MJ: My decision process was quite drawn out, because I liked so many different schools. I ultimately realized Duke was the right school for me because of its excellent combination of academics and athletics. Each time I visited, I appreciated the school spirit and the excitement around the campus; it reminded me of McDonogh.