The No. 2 Greyhounds left satisfied, brilliantly defending against the potent Eagles' offense with a collectively strong front that simply wouldn't bend.
For the No. 1 Eagles, who carried the play for most of the game only to be bottled up every time they got close to goal, the frustration was clear.
Gilman senior goalkeeper Andrew Harris, who was largely responsible for the Greyhounds 1-0 win over McDonogh in last year's title game, made seven saves and senior defender Mike Dunbar typified the tireless work from the visitors. The Eagles had a number of quality chances with strong individual play from Mike Gamble and Malcom Harris going for naught.
McDonogh goes to 4-0-1 overall and 0-0-1 in the MIAA, while Gilman is now 3-0-1 and 0-0-1 in league play.
"We made it a point in our preparation that it has to be a collective effort, that one guy can't stop Mike Gamble or Malcolm Harris — they're just too good," Gilman coach Jon Seal said. "So I thought collectively we did a nice job accounting for where they were and it's a testament of how good a team McDonogh is because they still had some chances to score.
"I was really happy with the effort. It was 100 minutes against this caliber team — they put pressure on you, you're going to have to take a little bit and apply some of your own and I thought we did that very well."
Two of the Eagles best opportunities came in the first half. In the early going, Gamble found rare space down the right side and had Harris off his goal line, but his shot from 15 yards was alertly cleared off the goal line by Dunbar. Midway through the half, Harris slipped behind the defense and hit a rocket from 18 yards that shook the top crossbar.
While the Greyhounds mostly defended, they did create a couple scoring chances that presented anxious moments — the best coming from senior Christian Wulff early in the second half when he cranked a heavy shot from 25 yards that whistled just wide of the far right corner.
Gamble had the best chance to score in overtime, volleying a cross sent in from Harris that went just high from 15 yards.
"It was frustrating," McDonogh coach Steve Nichols said. "We need to do a better job keeping the ball, breaking them down, being more patient and making better decisions. We weren't sharp today but they had something to do with that."