Aberdeen soars on the lacrosse field


Aberdeen High School has never been synonymous with success on the lacrosse field.

The school that produced future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken has established strong tradition in some sports but lacrosse isn't one of them.

Now, Craig Tillmann is out to change that, and the Eagles' first-year coach is off to a great start.

Friday's 10-2 victory over Harford Tech raised Aberdeen's record to 4-0, giving other coaches around the county one more team to worry about.

"It's nice to know that people are starting to take us seriously," said Tillmann, who coached at Radford University in Virginia for four years before earning his master's degree in technology education and accepting a teaching position in Aberdeen's industrial arts department.

"I think their desire to win has been the key. The guys are tired of losing and they're willing to put in the work needed to be successful."

The Eagles' four wins already have enabled them to eclipse last year's win total when the team went 3-11. More importantly, the win streak has boosted the team's confidence, which it will need when it takes on Bel Air on Wednesday.

"Wednesday's game should help us decide what is possible this season," said Tillmann. "I tell them that if we use our tools, we can be successful in Harford County."

Among Aberdeen's most reliable tools have been Andy D'Amico and Andy Gasdia. D'Amico, a 5-foot-11 senior midfielder, has eight goals and five assists, four of those goals in last week's 11-6 win over Joppatowne.

Gasdia, who like D'Amico can run by people, leads Aberdeen with 15 goals and seven assists. The speedy sophomore had four goals and four assists in the Eagles' 12-7 opening win over Curley -- Tillmann's alma mater -- six goals against Joppatowne and three goals in an 8-7 win over Edgewood.

Gasdia, who led the Eagles in scoring last year as a freshman, attributes his team's surprising start to its new leadership and unselfish approach to the game.

"Our coaching staff has done a great job," said Gasdia, referring to Tillmann and assistant Earl Strouth. "They've kept our heads in the game and they haven't allowed us to get overconfident. We have a more well-rounded team this year and we don't have one player trying to do it all. We're relying more on the team and we're getting it done."

Curley coach Barry Brownlee said, "They had some good shooters who could put the ball in the net but the thing I noticed the most was that their kids worked well together and were very unselfish."

Aberdeen's defense, which was suspect at best heading into the season, has risen to the occasion and given sophomore goalie Justin Moe the support he has needed. Pete Ford, a midfielder turned defenseman, has come up big for the Eagles in spite of the broken ribs he sustained while wrestling.

"We've always had the talent, we just couldn't put it together," said D'Amico. "This year, we have a lot of seniors and things are starting to fall into place.

"We're trying to make a name for Aberdeen lacrosse. When people talk about sports at Aberdeen High School, they don't talk about lacrosse. Before I leave, I'd like to see the program get some recognition."

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