After each win, St. Mary's boys lacrosse coach Matt Hogan hands out a "hammer award" to the players who do the detailed, blue-collar work that plays big in the team's success.
Starting slowly at Mount St. Joseph on Tuesday, the No. 3 Saints relied on a collective effort to take charge in a 12-3 win over the No. 7 Gaels in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play in Irvington.
In improving to 8-1 overall and 2-1 in league play, the Saints overcame a 3-2 first-quarter deficit by blanking the Gaels (6-4, 1-3) for 3 1/2 quarters on their way to the comfortable win.
John Hogan (three goals, one assist), Nick Doub (one goal, three assists) and Logan Connolly (two goals, two assists) were the catalysts of a balanced attack.
"I thought we settled down defensively and I thought offensively we started to share the ball a little more and let the offense come to us," Hogan said.
The Gaels started fast - getting goals from Pat Chairs, Chris Costabile and Pete Mantzouris to gain a 3-1 advantage with 6:04 left before the Saints began to match the home team's intensity and more. Scott Hopmann and Connolly each scored twice to give the Saints a 5-3 lead at the half, and four more goals in the third quarter put the game away.
Winning draws, scooping up ground balls and being able to keep the ball proved the difference for the Saints.
"I think we started out a little flat and then the boys came together and we started playing how we usually play. We like to get up and down the field, score a lot of goals and keep them from scoring," said Connolly, who along with defenseman Jason Gonos claimed Tuesday's hammer award.