Two weeks ago in Roland Park, the Gilman Greyhounds defeated McDonogh in soccer for the first time in eight years. Sunday at Archbishop Spalding, in the MIAA A Conference championship game, the Greyhounds made it two straight against the Eagles, with a thrilling 1-0 victory which produced Gilman’s first league title since it shared the 1995 championship with Archbishop Curley.
Cotter Brown got the only goal of the game for the Greyhounds with 36 seconds to go in the first half, and a brilliant Gilman defense made the goal stand up.
“Sam (Wancowicz) played a great ball near midfield, and when it got to me, I headed the ball into the top corner,” said the fleet-footed junior. “McDonogh is a great team. We just wanted to match their intensity coming in and we were successful.”
Gilman keeper Andrew Harris was outstanding in the goal for coach Jon Seal. Harris turned back the Eagles time after time, especially down the stretch, when the potent Eagle offense was peppering the goal.
Joey Cahalan also made a spectacular save for Gilman, at 29:02 of the second half, when he blocked an Eagle shot on goal after Harris had made diving stop.
“We were defending most of the game; it was my job to defend, and I guess I was just in the right place at the right time,” said Calahan. “Five years ago we were 0-16-1, and four years later we’re the champs.”
Harris credited the play of his backs, especially to Wancowicz.
“This is unreal,” said the junior keeper. “All of the hard work that we’ve put in since August has paid off. We came in here almost in a dream state; this is unbelievable for our program.”
McDonogh coach Steve Nichols praised the Greyhounds.
“They played a great game. We seemed to let down just a little in the last minute of the first half, and they took advantage of it,” said Nichols. “Andrew (Harris) was fantastic in the goal, and they earned it tonight.”
Gilman coach Jon Seal gave all of the credit to his players.
“Tonight was all about the players,” said Seal. “It means a lot to me coaching against my dad (Bill Seal is an assistant for McDonogh). This is dad’s last year coaching, and I have been blessed to have spent 18 years coaching with him. I know he’s proud of me.”
It was the 12th time in the last 13 seasons that McDonogh has played in the championship game. The Eagles had to win a quarterfinal over Archbishop Curley 1-0, and a semifinal over defending champ Mount Saint Joe 4-2 to reach the finals. The Greyhounds had a first round bye, and they defeated Loyola, 2-0, in the their semifinal game on Thursday.
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