It's the key to success in lacrosse:
You win the ground-ball battle, you win the game, right?
Ninth-ranked Severn, in its bid to upset No. 2 Gilman yesterday, out-hustled and out-scrapped the visiting Greyhounds, controlling 45 ground balls to Gilman's 21.
But when it was all said and done, the Greyhounds had escaped with an 8-3 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference victory.
Still, Severn coach Mike Burnett sounded like it was his team that had come away with a win.
"I think we gave it a great effort and I'm proud of my kids," said Burnett. "We've got some kids with a lot of heart -- a great senior class that played real hard today."
Gilman coach John Tucker, on the other hand, was not as proud of his team's performance.
"I think our kids may have taken this one a little lightly," said Tucker, who guided the Greyhounds to last year's MIAA A Conference title. "We got beat to a lot of ground balls, and I can promise you that will never happen again."
What Gilman did do was put the ball in the net.
The Greyhounds (2-0, 1-0 in the MIAA) made good on almost half of their 19 shots on goal.
Leading the way for Gilman was senior midfielder James McIntyre, who finished with three goals. Junior attackman Chase Martin added two goals and one assist, and senior attackman Lorne Smith had a goal and two assists.
Severn, meanwhile, was not nearly as accurate as Gilman with its shooting, going 3-for-29.
Part of the Admirals' problem was Gilman's senior goalie, Corey Popham, who made 15 saves.
"We didn't play real well in the first half, but we came out in the second half and our D stepped it up," said Popham, whose Greyhounds went into halftime with a 5-3 lead. "We made some adjustments at halftime, and forced them to shoot from outside, which is what we're supposed to do so I can make the saves."
When Popham wasn't getting in the way, the Admirals (1-2, 0-2) did little to help themselves.
Severn hit two straight pipes with 4:15 left in the game, then missed an open goal after a failed Gilman clear.