When comparing the top private schools with the public ones in boys lacrosse, across-the-board depth is often considered the biggest difference.
As Friday night's season opener between defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champion Gilman and four-time defending Class 3A-2A state champ Hereford wore on, that became more and more apparent.
The No. 2 Greyhounds simply had more quantity and quality throughout the 48 minutes, pulling away in the second half for a 10-3 win at No. 8 Hereford.
Sophomore attackman Tyler Ruhl (two goals, two assists), senior midfielder Jake Matthai (two goals, one assist) and sophomore attackman Chris Walsch (one goal, two assists) led a balanced attack as the Greyhounds turned a 4-2 halftime advantage into a comfortable win. Five other Greyhounds also scored.
"Hopefully, this sets a standard for us," Gilman coach Brooks Matthews said. "First game, you always want to come out and play hard and play well and try to execute, because you're not quite sure what it's going to look like. So now we have a standard, something we can look to and say 'Here's what we've done and here's what we can do better.'"
Tied at 2 after the first quarter, the Greyhounds took their first lead early in the second when senior midfielder Cotter Brown alertly picked up a ground ball at midfield and made a strong run to the offensive end before finding senior attackman Gordie Koerber, who buried his chance from the left side. After Max Greene made it 4-2 before the break, the Greyhounds took over in the second half with Ruhl and Walsch providing much of the offense. The Greyhounds led 5-3 early in the third quarter before scoring the game's last five goals.
"Hereford's a great program. It was a great opportunity for us to come up here and play. They know how to play lacrosse and they play it very well," Matthews said. "I think what we were able to do was sustain our competitive level for a long period of time, and that's one of the things we were talking about — just don't compete in spurts but try to compete hard and continue to compete. I think that's what we did tonight."
The Bulls — who got a goal from senior faceoff man Ted Demiris eight seconds into the game — simply didn't have the ball enough in the second half to keep the score close. Hereford coach Brian King said the high-calibur test will help his team moving forward.
"It was a disappointing outcome. We didn't value the ball and ended up playing defense the whole game," King said. "Considering we were playing defense so much, I thought we did a good job, and we're a better team after this. They had a lot of depth, they were very organized and they played a great game."
No. 2 Gilman 10, No. 8 Hereford 3
Goals: G — Matthai 2, Ruhl 2, Koerber, Greene, Merrill, McCarthy, Wittich, Walsch; H — Demiris, Adams, Pritchett.
Assists: G — Brown, Ruhl 2, Matthai, Walsch 2; H — Seider.
Saves: G — Moore 8; H – Cunningham 4, Turnbaugh 4.
Half: G, 4-2