Sometime around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Gonzaga senior Tyler Golian will step to midfield and lean low above the turf on his home field opposite Landon senior Jason Murphy, kicking off the nonleague showdown between the top-ranked Eagles and the No. 2 Bears.
Golian logged a season on the freshman team and another on junior varsity before serving as the back-up to senior Eric Baumgardner last spring. The 6-foot, 175-pound midfielder has taken advantage of the No. 1 spot, winning 56 percent of faceoffs (101 for 180) with a team-best 56 groundballs.
“You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do,” Golian said after Friday’s dominant 15-6 win over No. 4 Georgetown Prep. “You’re an underclassman. He’s a great faceoff guy. He’s at Denison now, doing well. You’ve just got to grind every day and get better and get ready
for the games like this.”
Golian, who plans to play at Division III Dickinson College next year, enjoyed one of the best games of his career against the Little Hoyas. He went 10 for 21 in the faceoff X, winning five of his first six attempts to help set the tone for an all-encompassing victory.
Coming into Friday’s contest, Golian had one career goal, but he found the net twice in Gonzaga’s surprising surge. On similar plays in the first and third periods, he won the faceoff and raced down to the cage for quick scores.
“We knew he was a good player, but we definitely didn’t know he was this good,” said senior Alex Corboy, the team’s leading scorer with 22 goals and seven assists. “He’s been beating up on some really, really good faceoff men this year. We’re very proud of what he’s been doing.”
Golian was successful spelling Baumgardner last year, winning 61 percent of his chances (70 for 114) as Gonzaga went unbeaten against local competition. This year, the Eagles’ beefed up schedule has meant an even stronger slate of faceoff specialists to go against.
On Tuesday, Golian will face another tough matchup in Murphy, who has boosted the Bears by solidifying an area that was a weakness at times last season.
“I think I’ve been kind of underrated,” Golian said. “Now you wake up and try to show these guys what you can do and let them know that you’re good, too.”
Golian strongly considered Dartmouth and Gettysburg before picking Dickinson, which is currently unbeaten at 10-0 and ranked No. 2 in the latest USILA Division III poll.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
NUMBER CRUNCH: 8
Strikeouts by River Hill pitcher Kristy Selby in a 2-0 softball win over No. 10 Mount Hebron. The sophomore went the distance, scattering five hits. The Hawks remain unbeaten at 4-0, one three Howard County teams without a loss along with Glenelg and Hammond.
— In case you missed it, Louisville cut down the nets in Atlanta on Monday night after beating Michigan in an entertaining men’s basketball national championshp game, 82-76. The Cardinals can pull off the double on Tuesday with its women’s basketball team, facing Connecticut in New Orleans for that title.
— Lake Braddock sophomore Stephen Durbin scored twice Monday, but the second-ranked Bruins boys’ soccer team had to settle for a 3-3 draw with No. 1 Oakton.
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY:
Robinson (5-1-1) has won four straight games as it opens AAA Concorde District play against Chantilly (4-1-1). Junior goalie Hayley Talbott has posted four shutouts already, but the Rams defense will have its hands full with senior Kyndall Finch, who leads the Chargers with six goals.