An ankle injury kept Gilman defender Kirk Caldroney out of yesterday's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinal at No. 3 McDonogh.
Nevertheless, Caldroney made a huge contribution to the 2-1 upset of the Eagles (13-3), when he gave the team a pre-game pep talk that led to the end of McDonogh's eight-game winning streak.
Gilman, with an advantage in size and maturity, overcame a 1-0 deficit by scoring two second-half goals in similar fashion, the first just three minutes into the half. McDonogh keeper Mike Barr (11 saves) tipped away a shot by Brendan Callahan which drifted to the right about five yards out. Evan Kreitzer was there, chipping the ball into an empty net.
Then with 20 minutes remaining, Jeremy Edwards tapped Callahan's deflected shot past a grounded Barr.
The game was played in a drizzling rain that turned the field into muck and neutralized the Eagles' skill advantage, something that wasn't lost on first-year coach Ned Harris.
Harris, who has nine seniors playing for No. 13 Gilman (12-6-2), said the victory makes up for getting pummeled by a combined 14-1 in a three-game stretch by Oakland Mills, Curley and Calvert Hall. "We've come a long way since then," he said, "but the wet field helped us out a little."
"They were bigger and faster in some positions, and they attacked in numbers," said McDonogh coach Bill Seal, whose Eagles had a 20-18 shots-on-goal advantage. "They capitalized on the two mistakes and we couldn't convert on our chances."
Gilman's defense continuously splintered the Eagles' short-passing attack, which is headed by Dave Buehler (nine goals, five assists), Bobby Landolt (five, seven) and Dave Koloski (six goals). Still, the Eagles managed a 1-0 lead six minutes into the game when Pablo Webster deflected a pass from Jonathan Cole into the net's short side off the hands of Gilman goalie Noah Gallico (14 saves).
But the slick surface had McDonogh struggling to get around Gilman's speedy backfield of Chris McLamb, Steve Beyer, Nick Weiser and particularly Eric Holloway. "We were never concerned," said Holloway.
"The footing was sloppy, but they played the game they had to. We have no excuses," Landolt said.
* Joppatowne 2, Elkton 1: Senior Aaron Szager scored in each half -- his second breaking a 1-1 tie with 14 minutes left -- to raise his Harford County-leading goals total to 24, as Joppatowne (8-5) edged visiting Elkton (10-3) in a Class 1A North regional semifinal played in a steady rain.
* Bel Air 2, Fallston 1: Ryan Zimmerman, a senior three-year regular for Bel Air (8-4-1), converted a perfect pass from Chris Chumley into the game-winning goal with a minute to play in a class 3A North quarterfinal at Fallston (8-5). The pass from the wing and the kick from 15 yards away were out of ankle-deep mud, and the ball hit the underside of the crossbar and caromed into the goal.