When the Gilman and Loyola boys lacrosse teams faced off yesterday, expectations were high.
For one, they were the top two teams in the area and were the only remaining undefeated teams left in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. And the Dons defeated the Greyhounds in last year's MIAA A semifinals on their way to the title.
Gilman made sure this game didn't live up to the hype. The No. 1 Greyhounds had a field day offensively and shut down the No. 2 Dons defensively en route to a surprisingly easy 17-7 victory.
"Every year against Loyola is a big game," Gilman midfielder Davey Emala said. "We lost to them last year in the semis and everyone was real excited for this game. We're the only undefeated team in the league, so we had to come out strong."
The game went back and forth at the start and was tied at 5 with five minutes left in the second quarter. That's when the Greyhounds (13-0, 6-0), known for their second-half scoring surges, started hitting the net at will. Emala (three goals, three assists) scored to give Gilman the lead.
Fifty seconds later, Jack Doyle (four goals) stripped a defender of the ball at midfield, sprinted 40 yards and slammed a shot past Loyola goalie M.J. Leonard.
Doyle scored again two minutes later, and Ramsey Sotir added a goal with a minute left. Loyola's Ryan Shewell scored with 30 seconds left to make it 9-6 at halftime.
Gilman got goals from Doyle and Duncan Hutchins (two goals) in the first two minutes of the third quarter. At 8:13, Trevor Dauses (two goals, one assist) scored from 10 yards to pull Loyola (8-3, 5-1) within four, but Gilman started controlling possession while clamping down on the Dons' offense.
"We didn't let them get any possessions," defenseman Joey Ehrmann said. "The faceoffs were great. The less possessions they had, the better for us, so we just didn't let them get the ball."
After Dauses' goal, the Greyhounds ran off six more goals without allowing Loyola to score. By the last five minutes of the game, Gilman, which won the faceoff battle 15-8, had pulled its starters.
The game was aggressively played, with both teams getting their share of penalties. Gilman had eight and Loyola seven.
"We play hard," Gilman coach Brooks Matthews said. "It gets us in trouble at times, but we try to make hustle mistakes. Loyola's a great team, and we were lucky today was our day.
"When you can beat Loyola, it's a good day."