Calvert Hall College lacrosse coach Bryan Kelly had five words for his team in the huddle before the start of the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s matchup with St. Paul’s School.

“Offense you need to step up,” Kelly said. For most of the first three quarters, the Cardinal unit was simply unable to get out of its own way.

Fortunately, Ryan Brown and Stephen Kelly answered their coach’s challenge. Brown scored off a Kelly feed with 3 minutes, 24 seconds remaining in regulation, lifting the No. 3 Cardinals to a 5-4 victory over the No. 1 Crusaders in a MIAA A Conference match in Brooklandville.

Stephen Kelly, a sophomore, finished with a goal and an assist for Calvert Hall, with Brian Bolewicki, Tom Hollenback and senior Matt Diehl finding the goal. Senior attack Taylor Michel scored a game-high three goals for St. Paul’s (6-2, 1-1) and Ben Brehne finished with a goal.

The Cardinals (5-0 overall, 2-0 MIAA A) never trailed Tuesday as they posted a second straight win over the defending MIAA A champs dating back to last season. It was frustrating at times, but after missing the playoffs last spring, Calvert Hall served notice it’s again in the title chase.

“We’re young, we only have two seniors who play,” said Bryan Kelly, who has just eight seniors among his 38-man roster. “They were a little nervous and I was trying to get them to settle down, but you got to give St. Paul’s credit they had a great defensive scheme.”

The Cardinals were able to out-fox St. Paul’s as Brown put a shot low past Crusader goalie Gunnar Waldt (13 saves) from about seven yards out. It was the only goal in the second half for Calvert Hall, which missed on a host of opportunities including an open goal and a point blank miss by Stephen Kelly.

“I was able to get a nice split on my man, Ryan made a great cut backside,” said Kelly. “He was open and he stuck it.”

“I didn’t play well the whole first half,” said Brown. “The second half, I had to pick it up.”

The Crusaders got possession with over a minute left in regulation, but Robby Maddux’s point blank shot was deflected by Calvert Hall junior goalie Jack Brust. Jay Carlson got the loose ball and scored with 35.8 seconds remaining, but officials disallowed it for Carlson being in the crease. The Cardinals ran out the remaining time.

Calvert Hall put up two goals within the opening three minutes with Diehl and Bolewicki, a junior midfielder. After Michel scored the first of his unassisted three goals for the Crusaders, Stephen Kelly won the ensuing faceoff (won 9 of 12 overall), went downfield and beat Waldt for a 4-2 advantage.

Michel, who will play for the University of Virginia next season, brought the Crusaders even at 4 with 2:23 left in the third, but Calvert Hall’s defense featuring Brust (14 saves), Evan Connell, Garrett Epple, Dominic Scarfo, Tyler Mayes and Ky Rhinehart stymied St. Paul’s. Crusaders coach Rick Brocato said the Cardinals did a solid job against junior attack/midfielder Spencer Parks.

“That took our offense completely out of sync,” said Brocato. “We had guys making poor decisions. You’d think you hold a team to five goals in this league, you should be able to win.”

The Cardinals know they’re fortunate after a spotty showing. Calvert Hall will host LaSalle (PA) Friday before returning to league play against Mount St. Joseph Apr. 5.

“To beat the former MIAA champs is a really good statement,” said Stephen Kelly. “It shows we’re tough and can win the close games.”

No. 3 Calvert Hall College 5, No. 1 St. Paul’s School 4 
Calvert Hall22015
St. Paul’s School12104
Goals: Calvert Hall-Diehl, Bolewicki, R. Brown, S. Kelly, Hollenback; St. Paul’s-Michel 3, Brehne.
Assists: Calvert Hall-C. Brown, S. Kelly. 
Saves: Calvert Hall-Brust 14; St. Paul’s-Waldt 13.