Once his teammates converged at midfield for a mosh pit, screamed “Woo” in unison like professional wrestler Ric Flair and teased one of their own for accepting a postgame prom proposal, Georgetown Prep junior Matty Gardiner could finally take stock of what they all just accomplished.
Moments removed from No. 3 Georgetown Prep’s 7-4 win over No. 2 Gonzaga (12-3) on Tuesday afternoon in North Bethesda, his mind drifted back to April 13, when the Little Hoyas suffered a double-overtime defeat to No. 1 Landon. He thought about how a loss that could have been a devastating setback became a galvanizing moment for the team, after so many wondered during the preseason if it could be the same following longtime Coach Kevin Giblin’s resignation last spring.
“We had to come out and prove a point,” Gardiner said.
The Little Hoyas (8-2) did just that, never trailing over the final 33 minutes against a team that began this season ranked No. 1 in the country by one national Web site. Georgetown Prep controlled possession for much of the game, won every meaningful groundball and held the Eagles’ normally potent attack to a season-low in goals.
The definitive surge began after halftime as the Little Hoyas turned a one-goal advantage into a 6-2 lead in a little more than three minutes. Senior Austin McDonald (two goals, one assist) scored to begin the second half and senior David Lipka soon found Gardiner for his second goal of the game 44 seconds later. Lipka (two goals, two assists) then capped off the sequence by taking a feed from McDonald and bouncing a low shot into the back of the net.
“We knew that we had to come out as fired up as we’ve ever been,” Lipka said. “We knew they were going to try to make a run, so we had to give it everything we had. That was the most important run we had to make all game.”
Georgetown Prep’s stingy defense took care of the rest, although Coach Charlie Horning said the team did not try any exotic schemes.
Instead, defenseman John Railey used his 6-foot-6 frame to hold Gonzaga All-Met Timmy Monahan scoreless, and Little Hoyas goalie Joey Altemus (10 saves) swallowed up most of the best chances that did get through.
“I’m not much of a physical guy, but he thrives against physical guys,” Railey said of Monahan. “Just stay in his hand, use that reach . . . and don’t let him get into his rhythm.”
This loss will likely haunt Gonzaga into the offseason given its preseason expectations. The Eagles, who also fell short against Landon last month, led 2-1 after the first quarter Tuesday. But they could only muster two more goals from senior Luke McCaleb the rest of the way.