If Jim Moorhead has learned anything in his 19 years as coach at St. Mary's, it's that nothing comes easily in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
Moorhead's third-ranked Saints led No. 2 Gilman by three goals with four minutes to go in yesterday's game at Weem Whalen Field, but the visiting Greyhounds scored four unanswered goals to post a 10-9 victory.
"St. Mary's is always a good team, and we knew coming down here it would be a dogfight, and it certainly was," said Gilman coach John Tucker, whose 4-1 team was upset by St. Paul's on Tuesday. "Our kids showed a tremendous amount of heart and character throughout the entire game.
"We were totally outplayed in the first half, and I told them at halftime that if we want to be considered contenders again that we have to step up and play a tough St. Mary's team on a tough day, and they accepted the challenge and came back."
Senior Lorne Smith, who finished with four goals and one assist, initiated the Greyhounds' fourth-quarter rally with an unassisted goal with four minutes remaining.
Scott Banerjee, who scored the game-winner with 16 seconds left, pulled Gilman to within one with 2:48 left when he took a feed from Chase Martin, leaped high and fired a one-hopper through the legs of Saints goalie John Horrigan (10 saves).
Twenty-seven seconds later, sophomore attackman Keith Baker tied the game at 9 on an assist from Smith.
After winning the ensuing faceoff, Gilman lost possession when Horrigan saved a shot by Baker.
No. 3 St. Mary's took control of the ball with a minute left and Moorhead begged his team to work for one final shot.
The Saints' final shot came too early, however, and it ended up in the stickt of Gilman keeper Corey Popham. Popham's clearing pass gave the Greyhounds and helped set up Banerjee's go-ahead goal.
"We couldn't lose two in a row. We knew we had to do something," said Smith. "Coach Tucker was pretty [mad] at halftime and he challenged us to come back and win and we stepped it up and got it done."
St. Mary's (3-2) went ahead early on goals by Chris Chriswell and Jamison Mullen.
Martin put Gilman on the board with an unassisted goal with a minute left in the first quarter, but by the time the Greyhounds scored again, the Saints had built a 5-1 lead.
Smith cut the lead to one with 6:46 left in the third quarter, but each time Gilman scored, the Saints matched them, giving them a one-goal lead heading into the final period.
The Saints upped the lead to three on goals by Kevin Grace and Dan Marohl (one goal, four assists) before the Greyhounds broke out of the gate and passed them.
"We just made some foolish errors again as a team when it really counted, and the measure of a good team is one that can stop making those mistakes, and so far, we haven't done that yet," said Moorhead. "We hustled and we played hard but we didn't play smart when we had to."