Unquestionably, graduation has taken its toll on a Gilman squad that posted an 11-7 record overall and respectable 7-4 mark in the MIAA A Conference last spring, losing four of the top five defenders, two attackmen and the starting midfield line in one fell swoop.
Even so, Gilman coach Brooks Matthews does not employ the dreaded word most coaches loathe, "rebuilding," to describe his team's chances against non-conference competition that begins with a road trip to meet defending Philadelphia-area private school champ Malvern Prep on March 21.
Still, Matthews is fortunate to have stabilizing forces at both ends of the field in attackman Andy Matthews and fellow senior Jack Halpert, a lock-down longstick.
According to coach Matthews, both University of North Carolina commits will be up to the task at hand.
"Andy and Jack both possess an endless motor generated from their passion for the game of lacrosse," he said. "Both are multi-dimensional players and have worked to continue diversifying their game so as to play at the highest level."
The duo, along with returning starting goalie Ben Shmerler (Tufts), inherits leadership positions as well in the team hierarchy.
"I always wanted to be a leader," Andy Matthews said. "And part of being a returning starter is to sometimes show the younger guys where to be on the field. We have some older guys, too, who don't have much game experience, so there's going to be a learning curve. But I think they'll pick it up quickly."
Senior Jimmy Williams will fill one of the other spots on the attack while the midfield boasts seniors Charlie DeMuth, TJ Oursler, Fabio Beltran and sophomores Woody Kelly and Wade Oursler.
Look for senior Jake Wexler and junior Christopher Williams to buttress the offense.
On defense, Halpert and classmates Carlyle Turner, Kevin Walker, David Cosimano, Luke Franklin and Thomas Hebert and juniors David Sturtz and Justin Edwards will be charged with keeping Shmerler out of harm's way.
"Our team has talent, but not the same depth as in recent years," coach Matthews said. "As a result, we must improve rapidly."
Having two standouts should make thing easier for all concerned.
"Andy is an aggressive dodger who also possesses great vision," the coach said. "His balanced point total from 2014 (27 goals, 26 assists) shows that he's a dual threat. Tenacious in the ride and on ground balls, we will count on Andy to mature as a leader.
"Jack is the prototypical leader-by-example whom we will ask to do even more this season. Jack's ground ball acumen (67 last year, 111 career) and transition skills will always provide highlights, but he is capable of becoming a shut down defender all over the field."