Haverford (Pa.) has proved it has one of the most formidable defenses in the country. The team is ranked No. 19 nationally by insidelacrosse.com, and going into yesterday's game at Gilman, the Fords had not given up more than five goals in a game this season.
But the Greyhounds, ranked No. 2 in the area in the latest Sun poll, eclipsed that total in the third quarter. Gilman (7-0) scored 10 goals in the second half - including six in the third quarter - in an 11-8 win over the Fords.
"It's awesome. [Wednesday] they beat Loyola, the No. 1 in the country and No. 1 in our league, so first we had to defend the turf in Baltimore," junior midfielder Jack Doyle said. "Honestly, I think they're the best team we've played this year. Just to come out like we did and come out as a team ... that's what feels the best."
Doyle and sophomore midfielder Duncan Hutchins paced Gilman's attack, as each scored three goals. Davey Emala chipped in with two goals, and Marcus Holman had two assists. Haverford (4-1) - which was coming off a 7-5 win over No. 1 Loyola - led Gilman, 4-1, at halftime.
"Our kids played hard the whole game," Gilman coach Brooks Matthews said. "We were making some plays in the first half but weren't quite finishing them off. We showed some maturity and some patience. We kept running our offense, and the shots started falling."
The Fords extended their lead to 5-1 early in the third quarter, but then the Greyhounds started finding their rhythm. Midfielder Greg McBride found Nick Nolan, who scored from 10 yards out.
After a Haverford goal, Hutchins and Emala both scored unassisted. Nineteen seconds after Emala's goal, Cooper Brown got the ball off the faceoff, raced and weaved his way through the Haverford defense, was pushed in the back twice and still managed to score. Hutchins scored again off a deceptive behind-the-back pass from Holman to tie the score at 6. Haverford regained the lead, but Doyle's goal with 21 seconds left in the quarter tied the score again.
Gilman outscored Haverford, 4-1, in the final quarter behind goals from Evan Redwood, Emala, Hutchins and Doyle.
Haverford coach John Nostrant this week led his team against the top two teams in The Sun poll, and he was impressed by the Greyhounds.
"They're pretty even, but I would say those two middies [Doyle and McBride] give Gilman a little more of an edge," he said. "I've got to believe [Gilman] is one of the top teams in the country."