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2009 E-Lacrosse Feature: Gilman goes for it all in 'A' final

I've talked about a few of the local high school squads in depth but I believe I've saved the best for last in Gilman. We'll find out when they play Loyola in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference final. Brooks Matthews' Gilman team is perhaps the best they've had since 2000 or even '95, but people have been comparing the team to great MIAA squads like the '05 and '97 McDonogh teams and the '97 Boys' Latin team.

Everyone could see this coming. Last year the team went on a late run of wins abruptly ended in the playoffs, but the warning was sounded. The 2007 team starred mostly freshmen and sophomores. Thusly, this year's undefeated squad has some senior leadership but the firepower and speed that is its hallmark comes primarily from underclassmen.

The senior leadership at Gilman is on the defensive end. From the goal to the midfield line, there is loads of experience. Matt Holman, son of Hopkins great Brian Holman, is off to North Carolina, after just one more high school game. He'll get to watch his best defenseman, Joey Ehrmann, visiting UNC every other year with the Wake Forest football team. Ehrmann, son of Syracuse and Baltimore Colts great Joe Ehrmann, will not play college lacrosse and some say he has a reasonable chance to play in the NFL one day. Ehrmann will be covering Loyola's Steele Stanwick, last year's Player of the Year, in the final, as he did quite successfully in Gilman's 17-7 win over Loyola earlier this season.

Ehrman is joined by two more seniors, Trinity-bound Alex Gottsch and Idy Iglehart, who's headed for Colorado College. Both the first and second midfields have a senior member as well. The first midfield line features Nick Nolan, a little guy that makes a huge contribution and will again at the next level with Georgetown. The second midfield line has Ty Kimball, who will be attending the Naval Academy in the fall. Evan Redwood, the lone senior on attack, is a speedy, quarterback-type attackman, with a great eye for finding the open scorer. Redwood is off to Amherst in the fall. The junior class at Gilman is frightening to opposing coaches. This year might be the last chance to stop Gilman for a while. Behind the varsity, the Greyhounds' JV team lost in the MIAA semifinals this year and their freshman-sophomore team lost in the MIAA final. The class is led by two guys who should compete with Loyola's Steele Stanwick for this year's Player of the Year award, attackman David Emala and middie Jack Doyle.

Doyle, already signed with Harvard for the 2010 season, is in the words of SportsMaryland.com's Kevin Lynch, "a tremendous faceoff guy, the most aggressive defensive middie in the MIAA and a great shooter." Lynch has seen Gilman play many times this season and loves Doyle. "He's got a flair for the dramatic and he can just break you down with that opening score right off the faceoff to begin a game or at the half."

Lynch also likes attackman Davey Emala. He's Gilman's leading scorer on attack and according to Lynch, was the other guy that was consistently huge for the Greyhounds in big games. "When Gilman and those two are inspired, the team is unstoppable. They will be up for Loyola and for an MIAA championship."

Lynch thinks that Emala and Doyle, along with Stanwick from Loyola are the contenders for top player honors in the state. "There were some Calvert Hall guys [in the running], but in the big games, these three stand out." Lynch thinks that Steele was as marked a man as possible, while nobody could afford that type of attention to any one Gilman player because the others around him are deadly.

The junior lineup at middie for Gilman continues with Cooper Brown, a defensive-minded middie with a sick stick too. Duncan Hutchins, son of the Aloha Tournaments' Chris Hutchins, is a stellar faceoff man and Greg McBride is the most athletic player on the team. This midfield unit is fast, strong and gets back quickly and effectively when they need to, which isn't that often because they are patient and score with a high efficiency.

On attack, junior Marcus Holman is one of my favorites. I saw him play coincidentally at Chris Hutchins' and Ray Schulmeyer's Diamond Lacrosse Showcase this fall and he was just dynamite, possessing Mikey Powell-type quickness and feeding abilities and a similar ken for getting to the cage. He's a smaller kid who should never be underestimated. You'll be down a goal quick if you do. He's goalie Matt's younger brother and will join him at UNC in another year The junior class rounds out with Harry Prevas, perhaps the best long-pole middie in Maryland and maybe further. He gets the ball started quickly and is often in the mix at the offensive end on breaks.

The guy who glues the team together and puts it all on the line as a "special teams" player is senior Kevin Niparko. He is the scrapper, the ground ball gobbler. He runs on faceoffs, man-down, and the D-middie line. He's the Greyhounds' utility man and will likely factor in some way in the outcome of the championship game.

This year's Gilman squad will be known as a blue collar-type champion, which comes from the coaching. These guys are all scrappers. The team rides hard, rarely turns the ball over at the midfield and makes you pay when they do. They are the best conditioned team and pull away consistently from some very talented teams after just wearing them down for a half or three quarters of even play.

Gilman is coached by Matthews, but he's got excellence up and down the sideline. I have known Marc Hoffman to be one of the best lacrosse men in the nation for years. He runs our E-Lacrosse summer team and the league we play in, the Maryland Summer League, the most elite summer league in the nation, outside of the MLL.

Matthews is also joined by Owen Daily, the Princeton star and national champion; Tap Kolkin, a Gilman grad and Yale star who came home to give back; and Jesse Kohler, who did the same from UNC. John Gillespie was a high school coach in New England I believe, and he taking a teaching position at Gilman and joining one of the best staffs in high school lacrosse.

The MIAA A championship game against Loyola could be close, but if all of the cogs in this team perform like they have in their big games all year, the champion should be the undefeated Gilman Greyhounds.

May 12, 2008
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