In search of a third consecutive league crown, Calvert Hall overpowers No. 4 Loyola in the MIAA A Lax semifinals
by Gary Adornato
In the opening game of Tuesday’s MIAA A Conference lacrosse semifinal double-header at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium, top-ranked Calvert Hall repeated, if not expanded upon the dominance it demonstrated over No. 4 Loyola last Tuesday when the two teams closed the regular season at Blakefield.
The two-time defending champion Cardinals established an early lead, weathered a mild second-quarter surge by Loyola and then buried the Dons in the third quarter on their way to a convincing 18-4 victory.
Calvert Hall now advances to Friday’s A Conference championship game, also at Johnny Unitas Stadium, as it will face second-seeded St. Mary’s which defeated third-seeded Boys’ Latin, 11-5, in Tuesday’s second semifinal battle.
Calvert Hall scored three times in the first three minutes of the opening quarter and led 4-0 with 7:58 to play in the first. Loyola scored three of the next five goals to pull within 6-3, early in the second quarter, but Calvert Hall scored the final three tallies of the half and went to intermission up 9-3.
Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly felt his team responded well in putting the game away in the third quarter.
“I thought the way we came and adjusted in the third quarter was really huge for us,” said Coach Kelly. “In the first half, it was a good game, it was a battle.”
Loyola coach Gene Ubriaco said his team had a small window in the second quarter, but it shut fast.
“At that time we had a little momentum going our way and I was hoping it was going to be a little bit like it was in our quarterfinal game, where we went down early, but the guys battled back,” said Ubriaco, who completed his first season with the Dons after a long tenure as an assistant coach at Boys’ Latin. “When you play a team like Calvert Hall you have no margin of error and, unfortunately, we made a couple of bad decisions with the lacrosse ball and before you know it, it’s 9-3. It rips your heart out.”
Any semblance of a contest disappeared in the third quarter when the Cardinals outscored Loyola 9-0 to give them 12 consecutive goals. Loyola’s Cooper Motley ended Calvert Hall’s run in the first minute of the fourth quarter, but both teams substituted liberally from that point and neither team scored again.
The Cardinals passed the ball so efficiently that any number of players could have been on the finishing end most of the time. Junior Daniel Kelly ended up being the guy with the most production, scoring five times and adding a pair of assists.
“I’m kind of the finisher,” said Daniel Kelly. “I work off Jack (Sawyer) and Truitt (Sunderland) and I couldn’t do a lot without them, or any of the other guys on the team.”
Connor Mitchell had a hat-trick, while Sawyer, a señor, had two goals and two assists and Sunderland, a freshman, added two goals and an assist. Grant Mitchell also scored twice, while single goals came from Josh Webber, Colin Stewart, Ham McPartland and Justin Mintzer. In addition, Webber had two assists and Harrison Ewing, Cole Herbert and Ethan Long had one helper each.
Ubriaco took a longer view of his first season than just the final game, and he is excited about the progress the team made.
“Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with how the team responded, to be in a league with 11 teams with this quality of players, coaching, facilities and commitment to lacrosse, and to be one of the final four teams going,” he said. “We replaced 80% of our starting roster and the guys gave us everything they could this year. I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been blessed to have an opportunity to work these guys.”
Of course Bryan Kelly has some unfinished business with this season as his Cardinals attempt to become the first MIAA team to win three consecutive league titles. However, he would not discuss it.
“I am not thinking about it. I’m not talking about it,” said Kelly. “The only way you can do that, you have to have the guys from ’17 and ’18 here to win three in a row, but once you start thinking about that stuff… I have to keep clear.”
MIAA A CONFERENCE SEMFINALS
NO. 1 CALVERT HALL 18, NO. 4 LOYOLA 4
LOY 1 2 0 1 — 4
CH 5 4 9 0 — 18
GOALS: LOY—Jack Koras 2, Copper Motley, Charlie Koras; CH—Daniel Kelly 5, Connor Mitchell 3, Jack Sawyer 2, Truitt Sunderland 2, Grant Mitchell 2, Josh Webber, Colin Stewart, Ham McPartland, Justin Mintzer.
ASSISTS: LOY—Alex Breschi, J. Koras, Chase Llewellyn; CH—D. Kelly 2, Sawyer 2, Harrison Ewing, Cole Herbert, Ethan Long, Sunderland.
SAVES: LOY—Kevin Ellington 6, Jack Webb 2, Max Emde 2; CH—Jackson Marshall 5, Luka Meacaldo 2.
SHOTS: Calvert Hall, 53-23.
FACE-OFFS: Calvert Hall, 16-10.
GROUND BALLS: Calvert Hall, 42-18.