GAITHERSBURG – Rockville High School’s Jonathan Brake’s performance in a boys’ lacrosse game against Gaithersburg never hit a screeching halt, as his five goals helped the Rams earn a 13-11 road win on March 25.
The senior scored the game’s first two goals to put Rockville on the scoreboard. He followed up with two more goals in the second quarter which stretched the lead to the highest throughout the game, a five-point margin that Gaithersburg whittled down to momentarily tie the game.
“This game we came out firing, and just started scoring and scoring,” said Brake. “But then we started to push it too much, and started to make stupid shots, not the smartest shots.”
Rockville’s Ryan Kelly and Gaithersburg’s Joe Han fell short of the honor of top goal scorer, with both players scoring four points.
Brake was not the only Rams player to score early as senior Kelly added two more goals in the first quarter to help Rockville start off with a 6-3 score by the end of the period. Their dynamic offense flustered Gaithersburg, and they could not adapt in time to narrow the lead after a three-point run.
This duo of Kelly and Brake is at the core of Rockville’s squad. The two senior captains are veteran leadership in a young team and a threat that the Rams’ Head Coach Jesse Rutter considers integral to the teams’ success.
“No. 7 (Kelly) and No. 18 (Brake) right now are our team. Right now those guys are our leaders, they’re our senior captains, they work super hard, they get these guys to practice on time, get them working,” said Rutter. “I can’t say enough about them, they’re just all effort all the time.”
Both teams scored four goals in the second quarter, but Gaithersburg started to get into an offensive groove while remaining wary of the Rockville offense. Han finished off scoring his hat trick before halftime for the Trojans, becoming a threat around the net as Rockville struggled to contain the senior.
The second half was Gaithersburg’s turn to show up. The third quarter alone was instrumental in cutting the Rams’ lead and stalling their scoring with the Trojans limiting Rockville to only two goals in the period.
Meanwhile, Gaithersburg scored four goals and momentarily tied the game before a goal scored by Kelly dashed their hopes of a lead. By the end of the quarter, the momentary dominance by Gaithersburg gave way to a frenzy of Rockville players hounding the Trojans’ net.
“Not taking anything away from them, but when you’re in the penalty box a man down, it’s hard to compete five-on-six,” said Gaithersburg Head Coach Joey Collins. “That was the big message at halftime: stay out of the penalty box.”
Going into the final quarter leading only by one goal, Rockville was facing a team that had its second wind, no longer the defenseless first-quarter team they picked apart. With the stakes high, Gaithersburg sought to get the lead for once and keep it.
“They were pressing out a lot. And for me, I was able to take that one-on-one and score a bunch of goals off of that, but for the most part, it was a nuisance,” said Brake.
While opportunities abounded, scoring did not, and the Trojans were left scoreless. Their defense was almost their saving grace, allowing only one goal by Kelly in and keeping the possibility of winning alive until the final whistle.
“We made some mistakes, we should have run away with this game in the first half, but we’ll take that back to the practice tomorrow and get better,” said Rutter.
For Gaithersburg, the main takeaway from the game was that it could have been more favorable if the mistakes were mitigated. In his first year with the program, Collins part of the faults is chalked up to growing pains but that his team will grow from the defeat.
“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” Collins said.