Georgetown Prep Coach Kevin Giblin loves Jack Cleary’s ability to dodge defenders around the net, but he has spent much of the season telling the junior midfielder to be confident in his skills and attack the goal.
On Friday in a boys’ lacrosse game at No. 3 Gonzaga, he picked a great time to listen to his coach.
Cleary took a pass on the move from Joel Blockowicz in the final minute of the first overtime and found space to score the goal that gave the second-ranked Little Hoyas a 7-6 comeback win.
“When I saw that alley I just hit that hole as hard as I could,” said Cleary of his second goal of the season. “It had to come from someone, and I had a ball at a good time and just took it.”
The goal capped Georgetown Prep’s late rally after trailing 6-3 well into the fourth quarter. Senior Bobby Gribbin ended a Little Hoyas scoring drought of nearly two full quarters with 5 minutes 1 second left in the game.
Less than a minute later, Georgetown Prep (7-1) added a fluke goal. While making one of his 11 saves, Gonzaga goalie Timmy Farrell had a string break on his stick, and when he went to make a clearing pass the ball flew backward into his own net. Blockowicz scored his second goal of the game with 1:33 left to tie the score.
“We knew we were getting the looks and just not finishing,” Blockowicz said. “We knew we didn’t have much time and some guys really stepped up to get it done.”
Gribbin won the ensuing faceoff, one of 13 on the day for the Penn State-bound midfielder, and Georgetown Prep had a pair of opportunities to win the game in regulation but couldn’t convert.
Georgetown Prep, which blew a three-goal lead in the fourth quarter to New York’s Holy Trinity on Tuesday before winning in overtime, finished off the victory on its third possession of the extra period. When Cleary’s shot found the net, the team and a group of Georgetown Prep students rushed onto the field to celebrate.
“It’s funny,” Giblin said, “I really think that might have been [Cleary’s] first or second shot of the year.”
The comeback overshadowed a strong bid by Gonzaga (8-2) to earn its first win against the North Bethesda power. A year after falling, 14-2, to Georgetown Prep, the Eagles used three Alex Corboy goals and a big third quarter to seize momentum, only to let it slip away down the stretch.
“I’m just proud of my team because we’ve come a long way,” Gonzaga Coach Casey O’Neill said. “There’s a lot of things we can take away from a game like this, but we really wanted to win.”