The No. 4 Gilman lacrosse team took the early initiative at Hereford on Tuesday and played efficient throughout in an 8-1 win over the No. 14 Bulls in its final nonconference game before the start of Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play on Friday.
Senior goalie Noah Klein finished with nine saves, making sure the Greyhounds’ quick 2-0 lead held up, and junior attackman Sam King led a balanced attack with two goals and an assist.
Gilman, which hosts Severn in Friday’s league opener, got a goal or assist from 11 players to improve to 4-2. Hereford, which got an 11-save performance from senior goalie Nick Balducci, fell to 1-3.
Gilman coach Brooks Matthews has been pleased with what he has seen so far this season, and Tuesday’s performance was another step forward.
“I think we’re working really hard,” he said. “I think our guys want to be a great team and they are working toward that in terms of the ambiguity of playing for each other. It’s a really close group.”
When Andy Andrews scored in the game’s first minute and Pierce Washburn gave the Greyhounds a 2-0 lead less than a minute later, it looked as if the Bulls, who are young and have dealt with illnesses and injuries since the start of the season, might have been heavily overmatched. But that didn’t turn out to be the case.
Klein made several big stops before King made it 3-0 with 45 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Greyhounds were too strong on defense, a strength this season led by seniors Hank Bethel and Xander Martin, and scored some crushing goals late in quarters. Leading 4-1, Wallace Halpert scored with 31 seconds left in the first half. After mostly even play in the third quarter, the Greyhounds got goals from King and Bethel in the final 1:10 to build the lead to 7-1 going into the fourth.
“The Hereford team was good — they competed hard,” Klein said. “I think we came out a little flat … hit a few pipes. But overall, I was pretty pleased with our performance and we’re pretty happy going into Friday’s [MIAA A] opener,” Klein said.
Hereford coach Sal Picataggi wasn’t pleased with what the scoreboard showed at the end of the game, but saw plenty of positives to build on. The Bulls, who reached the Class 2A state title game last year, have a roster dominated by underclassmen.
“Finally yesterday at practice we had everybody back and it translated into a good effort against a great team,” he said. “I thought we stepped up to the challenge about playing them eye-to-eye, man-to-man, so we’re happy with our competition level against them today. [If we] pop a couple of those [early chances] maybe it could have stayed tight.”