On Tuesday, the St. Paul’s lacrosse team needed a little bit of everything to get past Gilman in what turned out to be a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference midseason classic.
Junior goalie Jamie Grant was terrific, particularly at the start. The offense executed halftime adjustments to build a considerable lead in the third quarter. And after the visiting Greyhounds made their own charge to once again get close, the Crusaders had a call go in their favor and more than capitalized.
Grant made seven of his 14 saves in the first quarter and senior attackman Troy Barthelme provided four goals and one assist, including the pivotal extra-man goal in the fourth quarter that helped send No. 3 St. Paul’s to a 14-11 win over No. 4 Gilman in Brooklandville.
The Crusaders improved to 8-2 overall and 5-1 in the MIAA, while the Greyhounds, who got six goals from junior attackman Sam King, lost their second straight league game to fall to 7-4 and 3-2.
In a goal-filled, roller-coaster second half, the game’s most decisive play came after the Greyhounds rallied with five straight goals to cut the home team’s lead to 10-9 and appeared to have tied the game. But Dutch Furlong’s potential tying goal was disallowed and he was instead penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for diving into the goal mouth.
With the extra man, Barthelme scored on a feed by Tyler Harry to push the lead to 11-9 with 6:26 to play, and the Crusaders sustained the momentum to capture the win.
“It makes me proud of my guys because we found a way,” St. Paul’s first-year coach Trey Whitty said. “It wasn’t clean the whole time. We made some unfortunate penalties, some mental mistakes. But at the end of the day, we found a way to get it done. Man, just a battle from both teams. Gilman played their butts off and we did too. It was just a game where both teams were swinging and it was wild.”
Whitty and Gilman coach Brooks Matthews agreed the decisive referee’s call was subjective.
Before the call, the second half had two significant runs after the Crusaders built a 5-3 halftime lead.
After King cut the lead to 5-4 in the opening minute of the second half, the Crusaders seemed poised to put the game away with five straight goals. Andrew Milani scored the first and last in the four-plus minute stretch that suddenly pushed the advantage to 10-4 with 6:44 left in the third quarter.
But the Greyhounds chipped away behind King, who scored three of his goals in a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 10-9 with 8:32 left. Furlong’s disallowed goal came with 6:55 to go.
“That call was tough, but I could see how he made it,” Matthews said.
After Barthelme made it 11-9, the Crusaders got goals from Peter Sheehan and Seth Higgins to take hold of the game.
“Gilman is a team that’s very similar to us — we play really hard, we know they play hard and we’re both physical teams, so we knew it was going to be a game like that,” Barthelme said. “It becomes all mental when you’re up 10-4 and then they make it 10-9 real quick. It’s something you can’t let get in your head because that can quickly become them taking a lead.
Whitty called a timeout and we knew we had to calm down. Jamie made a few more stops and our offense took care of the ball and it was just moving the ball and a goal at a time.”
Higgins and Logan Santos each finished with three goals and an assist for the Crusaders, who travel to Archbishop Spalding on Tuesday.
Gilman will try to get back on the winning side Tuesday when it hosts Loyola Blakefield.
“We’re not playing consistent lacrosse right now,” Matthews said. “We’re hurting ourselves at times and we’re not doing some of the things we’re capable of, but we just got to keep getting better. This league will expose your weaknesses and we have a few and we have to keep working on them.”