E.C. Glass’ Matthew Gallagher hovered on one side of the Midlothian goal while teammate Andrew Kayes waited on the other. When the moment was right, Gallagher flipped the ball to Kayes, who reversed his stick, slung it over his shoulder and scored with a no-look, behind-the-back goal.
There was plenty for the E.C. Glass faithful to cheer about in the state quarterfinal against visiting Midlothian on Friday night, especially in the decidedly one-sided opening frame, but Kayes’ goal took the cake. It elicited particularly loud oohs and aahs, got fans on their feet and gave the Hilltoppers even more momentum, which they rode to a 14-7 victory.
“I was just a little bit too far [close to the goal] to shoot it normal,” Kayes said of his goal. “I honestly didn’t know it had gone in until I heard the crowd cheer.”
Glass (15-2) broke past defenders and peppered Trojans goalie Davis Potter with shot after shot, slinging in blistering goals powered by a desire to defend its 2018 Class 4 state title.
It didn’t take the Hilltoppers long to put Midlothian (12-4) in a hole. Hamilton opened up the scoring after just 53 seconds of action. Kayes scored one minute later. And Jeremy Johnson made it 3-0 after Gallagher won the ensuing faceoff and then flung the ball downfield to Johnson for a play that took just three seconds off the clock.
The ’Toppers built a 6-0 lead and, despite not scoring in the second quarter, were bolstered by the fact that Midlothian could never get into an offensive rhythm.
“We came out strong," Johnson said. “I know we slowed down a little bit in the second [quarter], but I think after halftime we really kicked it in.”
They did just that. Glass scored five more times in the third quarter for an 11-5 lead that all but sealed the Trojans’ fate.
Playing in his seventh game back from an MCL tear that sidelined him much of the season, senior attack Wyatt Hamilton led Glass with four goals and three assists. He now has 17 goals and 25 assists in seven games, a remarkable run.
“I just don’t want to lose, honestly,” Hamilton said. “I couldn’t do it without the help of all these guys around me.”
Hamilton, who’s playing like a man on a mission right now, said he has a bet with Johnson.
“Who’s gonna finish with more points,” Hamilton said with a smile. “I’m just playing to beat him every week.”
Kayes added three goals, Gallagher finished with three assists and a score, and Jeremy Johnson and Owen Ahrens had two goals apiece. In goal, Landon Collins had eight saves.
Dates and times for the Class 4 state semifinal have not yet been determined. Glass will host either Western Albemarle or Jefferson Forest on Tuesday or Wednesday. The Cavaliers play at WA in another state quarterfinal at 7 p.m. tonight.
Midlothian was led by senior midfielder Bryson Miller, who had three goals, and Zachary Harriman, who added two goals and two assists.
The two teams faced off in last season’s state semifinals, a battle that started tense: It was 3-3 in the first quarter before Glass could break away for a 12-4 win.
But the ’Toppers owned this one from the start.
Gallagher credited the scoring onslaught to the way Glass moved the ball on offense.
The senior midfielder leads the team with 42 goals and 40 assists for 82 points, an impressive mark considering he was not used primarily as a scorer as a junior. Now he’s taking faceoffs and is a pivotal part of the offense.
When he and Hamilton were at their best Friday night, Glass looked unstoppable. Gallagher is glad to have his friend back in the lineup.
“Wyatt’s always talking trash to me, saying ‘I’m gonna score more goals than you,’ just like he does to everybody,” Gallagher said. “I don’t know if he’s gonna catch me this season. I hope he does. But having him back has been great. We have a much more dominant presence at attack.”
Ben Cates covers high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5527.