Public School Pride Pushes Mid-Atlantic Player of Year Anna Callahan

PHOTO BY MICHELE FURHMAN

Duke-bound Anna Callahan is reaping plenty of postseason rewards after leading Glenelg (Md.) to a third straight state title and No. 9 national ranking.


It was a wild finish to a stellar career for Glenelg (Md.) senior midfielder Anna Callahan.

After helping the Gladiators to 14 consecutive wins, all of which were by wide margins, a potential third straight state girls’ lacrosse championship came down to the final minutes of her senior season.

Glenelg led 4-1 at halftime over Hereford (Md.), but the Bulls fought back. It was not until the final five minutes that Glenelg scored the game-winner to seal their third consecutive Maryland public school title.

Callahan finished with a modest statline — one goal and an assist — but her contributions went way beyond that this season and throughout her decorated career. The Duke signee is the Brine/US Lacrosse High School Girls’ Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year.

“It’s such a great honor to hear my name behind all these prestigious awards, but I credit all this to my teammates, parents, and coaches — that’s what I think about when I think of all the awards,” Callahan said. “Working out with Nick and Rachel Campanaro and Josh Plummer has played such an important player in my career and my success.”

Callahan led Glenelg with 80 points on 52 goals and 28 assists, and she added 41 draw controls, 23 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers.

However, the season did not start the way she imagined.

Glenelg lost two of its first three games after winning 28 straight from 2016-2017, including a 20-0 record last year.

But in the second game of the 2018 campaign, the streak ended in an 11-6 loss to Notre Dame Prep (Md.), and that was followed by a one-goal loss to St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.). Notre Dame Prep (Md.) went on to win the IAAM A Conference and ended the 198-game winning streak of national powerhouse McDonogh (Md.).

“I don’t like losing — I get those traits from my coaches,” Callahan said. “This year’s team, a lot of people were saying we weren’t going to be as good. After those losses, especially the St. Stephen’s loss, we weren’t disappointed. We were happy, because it showed us how we could compete with those top schools in the nation. From there we turned on turbo mode. We didn’t have anything to lose. It was through an equal amount of having fun and working hard.”

That 9-8 loss to the Saints was the last of Callahan’s high school career. Glenelg rattled off 15 straight wins, which included a 13-6 decision over eventual Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and VISAA Division I champion Bishop Ireton (Va.). That victory came as a surprise to many around the country.

Bishop Ireton has become a national power and is regularly considered a top-10 team and one of the premier programs in the Maryland/Northern Virginia/Washington D.C. area.

“St. Stephen’s and Bishop Ireton are amazing teams,” Callahan said. “We wanted to show that we could compete with them. We aren’t McDonogh or Notre Dame Prep, but we are a team that works hard to get the ball. Our intensity going in was 110 percent. We realized that was what we needed to do after losing those early games.”

In the Washington Post recap of the game against Bishop Ireton, Callahan was quoted saying, “Let’s go show them what a public school is all about.”

And show them they did.

“She embraced that opportunity [to beat Bishop Ireton],” coach Alex Pagnotta said. “As a public school, we wanted to take it to a top-five [team] in the country. We knew that was our opportunity to salvage our national reputation. We scored three goals in 20 seconds before the half and Anna was a big part of that — her hustle and determination off the draw to get the ball upfield.”

Glenelg (Md.) finished ranked No. 4 in the Nike/US Lacrosse High School Girls’ Mid-Atlantic Top 10 and No. 9 in the Nike/US Lacrosse High School Girls’ National Top 25.

Honors have been heaped upon Callahan since the season ended. She earned a spot on the Under Armour All-America team, recognized as one of the best 44 players in the nation. She was named Player of the Year by the Washington Post and Howard County Player of the Year by the Baltimore Sun.

But when asked what defines her high school career, it is not the awards or even a state championship — or three.

“Losing my freshman year to Century [in the second round of the playoffs], that was the turning point for me as an athlete,” Callahan said. “I never want to feel like that again. I didn’t want to feel like I didn’t work hard enough as a player or we didn’t work hard enough as a team. I worked four times as hard as I ever had before. That was one of the most important points in my career.”

BRINE/US LACROSSE
MID-ATLANTIC GIRLS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR

ANNA CALLAHAN

School: Glenelg (Md.)

Year: Senior

Position: Midfielder

Stats: 52 goals, 28 assists, 41 draw controls, 23 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers

Coach Alex Pagnotta: “Anna was a big part of [our success] -- her hustle and determination off the draw to get the ball upfield.”

Also considered: Reilly Casey, Bishop Ireton (Va.); Ellie Kiernan, Georgetown Visitation (D.C.);  Maddie Jenner, McDonogh; Hannah Mardiney, Notre Dame Prep (Md.); Kacey Knobloch, Moorestown







NIKE/US LACROSSE
MID-ATLANTIC GIRLS’ TOP 10

SEASON REWIND

1. Notre Dame Prep (Md.), 17-4

The Blazers are the first team other than McDonogh (Md.) to claim the No. 1 spot in the last nine years after defeating McDonogh 10-8 in the IAAM-A championship game. Caitlynn Mossman tallied three points on two goals and an assist in the victory. The Blazers ended a 17-game losing streak to the Eagles with the win.

2. McDonogh (Md.), 20-1

The Eagles’ stunning win streak ended at 198 games with the loss to Notre Dame Prep. The streak began with a win over Winters Mill (Md.) on April 13, 2009 and surpassed the national record of 103 in 2014. McDonogh defeated teams from nine states, Washington, D.C., and Canada in that time. 

3. Georgetown Visitation (D.C.), 17-2

The Tigers won their first ISL AA championship with a 13-9 win over Holton-Arms (Md.). Senior defender Ellie Kiernan helped anchor a defense that held 17 of their 19 opponents to single digits in scoring this season.

4. Glenelg (Md.), 17-2

The Gladiators claimed their third straight state title with a 6-5 win over Hereford (Md.) in the Class 2A final, as Sarah Cipolla scored three goals. Glenelg’s season also was highlighted by a win over Bishop Ireton (Va.) -- the VISAA and WCAC champion this season. Senior midfielder Anna Callahan scored 80 points to lead the team, and senior goalie Maddie McSally finished her career with a .551 save percentage.

5. Bishop Ireton (Va.), 21-3

Brianna Lantuh scored the game-winner in the fourth overtime to defeat St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) 8-7 in the VISAA championship game. The win gave the Cardinals their second straight VISAA championship and capped a season in which they also won the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. Sophomore Reilly Casey set a school record with 92 assists and senior Madison Mote scored 76 goals.

6. Moorestown (N.J.), 23-2

The Quakers defeated Ridgewood (N.J.) 14-9 to win the Tournament of Champions, marking Moorestown’s first ToC title since 2014 and the program’s seventh overall. Kacey Knobloch and Robin Panzarella each scored 57 goals to tie for the team lead. Kayla Frank scored 50 goals, while Colette Smith led the team with 45 assists.

7. Glenelg Country School (Md.), 12-6

Five different players scored in the IAAM semifinal loss to Notre Dame Prep (Md.) to bring the Dragons’ season to a close. They defeated Notre Dame Prep in their first game of the season and also posted wins over St. Paul’s (Md.), Bryn Mawr (Md.) and Roland Park (Md.).

8. Holton-Arms (Md.), 15-6

The Panthers did something no other school has done in the last 21 years when they knocked St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) out of the ISL tournament. Holton-Arms finished as the runner-up to Georgetown Visitation. Junior Stephanie Hong, a Harvard commit, finished with 126 points, 50 draw controls, 46 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers this season.

9. St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.), 26-4

The Saints’ impressive regular season didn’t quite end how they envisioned. Their 21-year reign as ISL champions came to an end, and then they had to settle for VISAA Division I runners up after dropping a four-overtime game to Bishop Ireton. SSSA’s four losses were all by two goals or less. Senior Annie Dyson set a school record with 165 draw controls while contributing 65 goals and 55 assists. 

10. Ridgewood (N.J.), 22-4

The Maroons finished the year as Group 4 champions and Tournament of Champions runners up. Nicole Macolino led Ridgewood with 90 points, while Lillie Kloak had a team-high 63 goals and Caitlin Telesco posted a team-leading 50 assists.

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