St. Mary's, Gilman set for showdown

May 20, 1994|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

Jim Moorhead has witnessed enough cross-checks in his 15-year tenure as head coach of the St. Mary's boys lacrosse team to know that the only thing more important than preparation is execution.

"You work on strategy to put yourself in position to make the play, but you still have to make the play," said Moorhead, whose Saints will attempt to defend their A Conference title when they face Gilman at 7 tonight at UMBC Stadium. "All coaches go over strategy, but it all comes down to who picks up the key ground ball, who makes the key pass or who makes the key shot."

Gilman coach John Tucker hasn't been around the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association -- formerly known as the Maryland Scholastic Association -- as long as Moorhead, but the former Johns Hopkins star is smart enough to know that his team's 13-5 victory over the Saints during the regular season will mean nothing once the two teams start tangling tonight.

"This game is a different story," said Tucker, whose team converted 13 of 26 shots when the teams met on April 12. "St. Mary's is playing really well right now and the first time we played them we played the best game we played all year.

"St. Mary's beat two good teams to get here in St. Paul's [6-4 in the quarterfinals] and Loyola [7-6 in overtime in the semifinals] so we know we have to play hard and smart to win. If we play with intensity and intelligence, we'll be in the game."

Keeping the top-ranked and second-seeded Greyhounds (14-2) in the thick of things is a seasoned attack led by senior Mike Allan (28 goals, 37 assists), junior Lorne Smith (32, 15) and sophomore Chase Martin (21, 23).

Getting the ball to them and contributing his share of points is one of the league's premier midfielders in senior Mark Cornes. Cornes, a first-team All Metro selection last season, has 30 goals and 16 assists this season, but was held to a single assist in Gilman's midseason rout of the Saints.

"Gilman has an excellent stick-handling team and a number of young guys who can put the ball in the goal," said Moorhead, whose team enters tonight's battle ranked second and seeded fourth. "We have to find a way to stop them offensively and at the same time, we have to figure out a way to score more than the five goals we had against them the first time."

Standing in the way of the Saints' highly capable attack is Gilman's four-year starting goalkeeper Corey Popham. In 15 games this season, Popham has allowed just 71 goals for a 4.7 goals-against average.

Popham should have his hands and net full tonight with the Saints boasting a number of offensive weapons, including senior attackmen Matt Clune (23, 21) and senior midfielder Todd Vizcarrondo (28, nine).

"We obviously need to keep Clune and Vizcarrondo under control but they have other guys who can hurt like [Ryan] Beard [12, 10], [Kevin] Gattie [21, 14] and [Dan] Collins [23, 15], and we also have to solve their goaltender [senior Jim Brown]."

Tucker said: "This is a tremendous opportunity for our kids and I'm excited for them."

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