For nine consecutive years, the Loyola water polo team chased Calvert Hall, which won MIAA titles in each season from 2000 through 2008, under retired head coach Don Anderson. Now, the hunter has become the hunted, after the Dons broke through and won the league title in 2009.
Thursday at Calvert Hall, the Cardinals, under new coach Mark Rich, chased Coach Keith Schertle’s club to the end, before the Dons escaped with a thrilling 11-10 win.
Rich played on three of Anderson’s championship teams (2001-03) and had his team ready to play on Wednesday, as Anderson watched from the stands. Calvert Hall battled from behind three different times to forge ties, but Loyola’s Oliver Bennett finally put them away with the winning goal, with just three seconds to play.
Schertle said that Calvert Hall was dramatically improved since he saw them a few weeks ago.
“Mark Rich has done a phenomenal job with that group,” sad Schertle. “I thought we played well, but we only won by one. It was a typical Loyola-Calvert Hall showdown.”
Throughout the afternoon, the large and boisterous crowd tried to out-shout one another as the Don faithful chanted “Roll, Dons Roll,” and the Hall home crowd bellowed “Let’s Go Hall.” The thunderous noise matched the intensity of the play in the pool for 32 minutes.
The Dons took a 1-0 lead just 21 seconds into the game, when Bennett lofted a shot over Hall keeper Ben Wiese. Wiese was superb in the nets, stopping 10 Loyola shots.
The Dons had a 3-2 lead after one quarter of play, and they held a 7-5 lead at the half. Calvert Hall came back in the third period. They tied the game 8-8 on a goal by Carpenter Warren with :40 to go in the quarter. Warren is the younger brother of former Hall stars Archie and Arnie Warren. Carpenter had three goals on the day.
Steve Roberts, who had a game high five goals for Calvert Hall, tied the game at nine when he scored with 2:47 to go in the contest. Warren made it 10-10 when he scored 25 seconds later.
Calvert Hall was never able to take the lead. Bennett broke the 8-8 tie, Alex Porter put the Dons up 10-9, and Bennett won it at the end.
Michael Feihe lead Loyola with four goals, and Bennett had three.
“We knew Calvert Hall would be good, and we knew it would be close,” said Bennett. “I ended up getting lucky in the top right corner at the end.”
Feihe lauded Wiese.
“They were pretty physical, and their goalie was phenomenal.”
Kevin Balhoff, who played a strong and steady game for the Dons said that his team had to lock down and press on Roberts and Warren at the end.
“Steve Roberts and Carpenter are usually the guys taking their big shots,” said Balhoff. “We were able to come up with the ball. Oliver picked up, and shot it, and it went in.”
Colin McGrath and Cole Linder each had 6 saves for the Dons.
|Loyola 11, Calvert Hall 10|
LOY-Feihe 4, Bennett 3, Porter 2, Blum, McGarey; CH-Roberts 5, Warren 3, Cappucio, Massani.
LOY-Linder 6, McGrath 6; CH-Wiese.