Boys Lacrosse: Early surge leads Gerstell past Winters Mill in 'Falcons' feud

Gerstell Academy started its inaugural “Fight in the Falcons Nest” home tournament as strong as it could have hoped against visiting Winters Mill.

Gerstell used an early early surge of goals to come away with a 9-5 victory Saturday morning. CJ Kovalsky scored two of his game-high three goals in the first quarter and helped Gerstell (2-9) to score the first three goals in the game.


Johnny Hood netted an unassisted goal 19 seconds into the contest and that kicked-started Gerstell.

Kovalsky got involved next, when he finished a pass from Carson Houck for Gerstell’s second goal. To finish the early flurry of goals, Drew Huber scored an unassisted goal, making the game 3-0 with 7 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

“It’s absolutely amazing, it fires us up, right off the bat we played with a lot of energy and today that carried through the entire game and I’m proud of everybody on our team,” Kovalsky said. “It feels so great, I feel like the energy of the team has been a little bit down because we’ve kept losing … but this win will carry far.”

Gerstell finished the opening quarter ahead 5-2 and never trailed or relinquished the lead after the opening moments of the game.

Winters Mill (3-6) netted two goals in the first quarter and at one point trailed just 3-2, but it couldn’t string enough goals together to overcome the early deficit. Kaden Ross and Alexander Carr each scored a goal in the first quarter.

Winters Mill's Brady McGuire, left, spins away from pressure by Gerstell's Grant Abbott during a boys lacrosse game at Gerstell Academy on Saturday, April 20.
Winters Mill's Brady McGuire, left, spins away from pressure by Gerstell's Grant Abbott during a boys lacrosse game at Gerstell Academy on Saturday, April 20. (Brian Krista / Carroll County Times)

But Winters Mill’s failure to score wasn’t because of a lack of good opportunities. Despite having many good scoring chances, especially in the fourth quarter, Gerstell goalie Adin Laughlin turned away the visiting Falcons time and time again.

Laughlin finished with 23 saves, nine of which came in the final quarter to secure Gerstell’s second win of the season. It was apparent from the sideline that Gerstell was feeding off the energy of Laughlin’s brilliant performance in the net.

“During warm-ups I felt in the zone and ready, I have a rivalry with these guys and I just wanted to show them what I got,” Laughlin said. “We know that if we mess up, it’s not a huge game decided,” Laughlin continued regarding the early Gerstell lead.

Gerstell scored just one goal over the second and third quarters and held a 6-4 lead going into the final quarter against its Carroll rivals. A quick goal from Huber with 10:14 remaining in the game gave Gerstell some breathing room, and two late goals closed the door on Winters Mill.

Winters Mill played sound defense after the initial onslaught goalie Jax Francisco had some impressive saves of his own, finishing with 12 for the game. But the early lead proved too big of a hill for Winters Mill to climb and as time elapsed in the final quarter Laughlin kept getting better and better, turning away Winters Mill’s chance to get back in the game.

Ross and Brady McGuire each led Winters Mill with two goals.

“Being a county guy I didn’t realize how much of a rivalry it was between the two schools, there’s a lot of guys that have played club together in the past,” Gerstell coach Mike Flemming said. “The biggest things for us is getting that ‘W’ and it was great to see them go out and play four solid quarters, there wasn’t any let down and they were just taking care of business.”

Goals: WM-Kaden Ross 2, Brady McGuire 2, Alex Carr; G-CJ Kovalsky 3, Drew Huber 2, Jonathan Hood, Carson Houck, Declan Kenney, Rami Tadros.

Assists: WM-McGuire, Jansen Pusateri; G-Houck, Grant Abbott.


Saves: WM-12 (Jax Francisco); G-23 (Adin Laughlin).

Halftime: Gerstell, 5-3.