The No. 2 Mount Saint Joseph soccer team has found its groove, stepping onto the field expecting good things to happen every time out these days.

Meanwhile, No. 2 Gilman has hit a trying stretch that’s proving to be a challenge.

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That was apparent in the early moments of Friday’s game at Mount Saint Joe, where the hosts pounced on an early scoring chance while the Greyhounds missed on a couple of their tries.

Senior Torren Aikens scored the tone-setting goal three minutes into play and the Gaels added two goals early in the second half to coast to a 3-0 win over Gilman in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play. Junior Miles Lam scored one goal and added two assists, while sophomore Brian St. Martin scored his first varsity goal and added an assist as Mount Saint Joseph (10-2-1) improved to 7-2-1 for 22 points atop the MIAA A Red Division.

Gilman (7-6-1) dropped its second straight league game to fall to 4-6 with 12 points for third place in the Red.

An ideal connection, Lam finding Aikens on the far post, was exactly what Mount Saint Joseph coach Mike St. Martin was looking for against a Gilman team that blanked his side, 1-0, in the teams’ first meeting on Sept. 6.

“To come out and get the early lead was key and that was our No. 1 goal just because of the styles of play. We knew it would be important to get that first goal,” he said.

The Greyhounds had immediate chances to get level, but it didn’t happen with Tucker Herbert and Costi Karakousis both sending shots wide.

Unable to build on the lead the rest of the first half, the Gaels talked about playing with more composure in the final third and did just that. St. Martin served a ball in from 30 yards that Lam headed home with 30:30 left and then Lam found St. Martin three minutes later to put the game away.

Goalie Dominic Jones made two sparkling saves midway through the second half to preserve the Gaels’ eighth shutout and they have scored 19 goals in the last four league games to take hold of first place in the Red Division.

“The defense is playing great and we’ve been moving the ball and playing simple balls…just keeping it at our feet and playing well,” said Lam.

Gilman coach Jon Seal expects leading scorer Jack Stuzin back from injury for Wednesday’s game against McDonogh.

“You got to make good things happen and right now we’re in a place where we’re waiting for something bad to happen. You can address it all you want as a coach, but until we start making a positive play and making some good things happen, we’re going to continue to be on the short side of this,” Seal said. “I told our guys that no problems are solved by hanging your head, so we won’t feel sorry for ourselves and we’re going to get back to work as hard as we can to prepare for McDonogh next Wednesday.”

Goals: MSJ – Aikens, Lam, St. Martin. Assists: MSJ – Lam 2, St. Martin. Saves: G – Farley 4; MSJ – Jones 2. Half: MSJ, 1-0

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