Gilman played desperate soccer Wednesday against No. 8 Archbishop Curley while attempting to avoid their first 2-4 start in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play since 2006.
The No. 9 Greyhounds realized that goal, holding off the visiting Friars for a 1-0 victory in Roland Park.
"I thought we brought a lot of energy," Gilman coach Jon Seal said. "We really needed this win. It was on our home field, and you have to protect your home. We have already lost twice at home in conference play. I really like the way we came out with a sense of urgency."
Gilman (5-3 overall, 3-3 league) applied some significant offensive pressure in the first half against Curley sophomore goalie Elton Schwartz (11 saves) and defenders Zach Ridgely, Luke Still and Tyler Ihle.
Schwartz stopped two point blank shots from senior forward Brendan Barger before the Greyhounds went ahead, 1-0, in the 22nd minute when Barger's header went off a Curley defender and to Andrew Gemma just inside the goal area.
The senior midfielder tapped it in for an easy score — his third goal of the season.
"The first half was the best we played all year by far," Gilman senior goalie Chase Wittich said. "We just really wanted to win. Every league game is important, but I guess this one is more important because they are a really good team. We came out and played with an edge."
Curley (6-4, 3-3) picked up its play in the second half and produced a couple of opportunities to tie the game late when Friars coach Barry Stitz moved senior midfielder Eric Spalt up front.
But Wittich (9 saves) deflected senior Kyle Mizell's 25-yard booming shot in the 64th minute. Then, with 3:20 remaining, Mizell's attempt on a free kick over a wall of defenders was saved by Wittich again.
"We played much better in the second half," said Stitz, whose team fell to Gilman, 2-1, in a playoff semifinal last November. "I thought in the first half we were fortunate to be just one down. In the last 15, 20 minutes, the ball was bouncing around in their box a lot, but we just never seemed to be in the right place."
No. 9 Gilman 1, No. 8 Archbishop Curley 0
Goals: G – Gemma.
Saves: G – Wittich 9; AC – Schwartz 11.
Half: G, 1-0Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun