For the final two weeks of the regular season, Gilman boys soccer coach Jon Seal has asked his players to bring playoff-like intensity.
The No. 4 Greyhounds had it on full display Monday against No. 2 Archbishop Curley.
The defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champions showed up faster and more aggressive than the visiting Friars, coming away with a 3-0 victory to take over second place.
Senior Jake Matthai headed home the opening goal late in the first half, junior Tanner Vosvick and Sam Wancowicz impressively finished off two chances in the second half, and goalie Andrew Harris (seven saves) shined when called on. The Greyhounds (13-3-1) improved to 7-2-1 in the MIAA, while Curley (13-3-1) falls to third place with a 7-3 mark. Both teams are chasing No.1 McDonogh (13-1-1), which improved to 8-1-1 in the league with a 3-0 win over Mount St. Joseph on Monday.
After Harris made a diving save on a shot from Ricky Greensfelder to keep the game scoreless in the 19th minute, the Greyhounds consistently pushed forward for the rest of the first half. They were rewarded in the 38th minute when Matthai scored from in front off a set up by Riley DeSmit. The home team didn't let up, with Vosvick ripping a shot from 15 yards that found the lower right corner seven minutes into the second half before Wancowicz closed out the scoring with a blast from 30 yards that quickly found the far left corner in the latter stages.
"I'm just really proud of my kids, being able to adjust on the fly and being productive in doing it," Seal said. "They worked really hard and I felt we showed some character today. We missed some opportunities and [Curley] is a great team and they had their chances. Once we got the first one, you could see we played with more confidence and composure."
Along with getting three goals from three different players, the Greyhounds also got sturdy defense in front of Harris, led by central defender Christian Wulff and flank Chris Walsh. The defense limited the Friars to just one quality scoring chance in the second half, coming when it was still 2-0 with 8:35 left. But P.J. Koscher's shot from eight yards was right at Harris and Wancowicz went on to make it 3-0 minutes later.
After consecutive losses to Loyola and McDonogh less than two weeks ago, the Greyhounds have been able to regain their form by outworking opponents at both ends. They have now won three straight, including a league win over Calvert Hall and a victory against Bel Air on Saturday.
"We hadn't been that team losing to Loyola and McDonogh and it's something we just don't stand for," Wulff, a captain, said. "So today, the three captains brought the team together — and we win as a team and we lose as a team — and today we knew what we had to do."
Despite his Friars playing their fourth game in six days — including two in a weekend trip to New York — Curley coach Barry Stitz offered no excuses.
"At the end of the day, you had one team that wanted to win a lot more than the other team and that's all it came down to," he said.
4 Gilman 3, 2 Curley 0
Goals: G – Matthai, Vosvick, S. Wancowicz.
Assists: G –DeSmit, Kim, Hankin.
Saves: C –Ossie 8; G –Harris 8.
Half: G, 1-0.