2017 MIAA A CONFERENCE LACROSSE CHAMPIONS
CALVERT HALL COLLEGE CARDINALS
As his players and their fellow classmates celebrated the MIAA A Conference lacrosse championship on the damp turf at Homewood Field late Thursday evening, Calvert Hall College coach Bryan Kelly described the emotions of the previous titles.
“2004 was a relief because it was our first (championship) in 27 years. 2012 was really special, that was a great group of kids,” Kelly said. “This is one I just enjoyed it more.”
The No. 1 Cardinals are the last standing team after a 12-6 decision over No. 2 McDonogh School at Johns Hopkins University. Senior midfielder Brendan Curry scored four goals and Jacob Kelly added a hat trick.
The Towson school distanced the defending champ Eagles in the second half to complete a perfect run in the nation’s toughest boys’ lacrosse league. The Cardinals joined Gilman as the only schools to win two MIAA A titles since 2007 when Loyola Blakefield became the last program to go back-to-back.
After a nearly 90 minute start delay because of thunderstorms, McDonogh’s repeat bid was washed away by a versatile and tenacious Calvert Hall’s offensive attack. Jacob Kelly finished with two goals and Cole Herbert chipped in a goal and an assist.
Six different players scored for The Hall, which out-shot McDonogh, 34-17.
“Every person on our team was all about the team,” said Bryan Kelly. “No one cared about who was the player of the match. It was a team win, a team victory, a team championship.”
“We knew if we get a bunch of shots on goal, they would start to fall,” said Cardinals senior attack J.T. Bugliosi. “We’ve been able to come out hot and we kept that rolling today.”
After racing out to a 5-1 advantage, Calvert Hall’s lead to dwindled to 6-5 early in the third quarter. Bugliosi, who will play for national semifinalist Ohio State University next spring, fired a shot that Eagles goalie Evan Long knocked down.
Daniel Kelly got the loose ball in front of the goal and put it back in. Jack Sawyer got a pass from Curry and underhanded the ball into the net, putting Calvert Hall up, 8-5. Herbert and Daniel Kelly scored in the final 1:12, leaving Calvert Hall with a commanding lead entering the fourth.
“We played safe, we played under control,” said Curry, who will play for Syracuse next spring. “We cut down on the penalties. We played under control and put us in a good place.”
After holding off McDonogh after an impressive first half in the regular season meeting at Russo Stadium last month, Calvert Hall nearly wrote the same script in the penultimate game of the spring. The Hall out-shot McDonogh, 13-2, constructing a 3-1 lead inside the first 10 minutes.
The Cardinals led 5-1 after Jacob Kelly converted a pass from Bugliosi. McDonogh, stumbling under Calvert Hall’s offensive pressure and its own mistakes, took advantage of extra-man opportunites to climb back.
Griffin Catlett and Liam Powderly converted to bring the Eagles to 5-3 with 4:26 left in the second quarter. The Owings Mills school got an 1-minute EMO chance in the waning seconds of the first half, and capitalized at the start of the third as Jack Parr finished a Powderly pass.
Powderly scored off a Parr helper for McDonogh’s fourth extra-man conversion, closing to 6-5. Powderly finished with three goals and an assist for the Ealges, and Jack Sweeney handed out three assists.
The Eagles’ defense, regarded as one of the nation’s best, was unable to corral Calvert Hall’s assortment of shooters. Connor Mitchell scored while Bugliosi added two assists.
Bryan Kelly said putting Jacob Kelly behind the goal which allowed Bugliosi, who played the point role last season, to face the net made Calvert Hall more fluid offensively. Bryan Kelly added the emergence of defensive midfielders Connor Maher, Colin Allen and Trey Smith strengthen the Cardinals.
In its last championship run, Calvert Hall had the pressure of being the consensus No. 1 team in the nation which affected it early. The Cardinals exulted with a dominant showing against Loyola Blakefield in the title game at Unitas Stadium.
This spring, Calvert Hall was a legitimate contender in a relatively balanced field in the MIAA A. The Cardinals were the model of consistency.
Curry and Bugliosi said the 2016 squad was the blueprint.
“I think both were great teams with great senior leadership,” said Bugliosi. “Not much of a difference really.”
“This team would not had won this championship without those seniors. No question, not even close,” said Curry. “They taught us how to lead, how to win. This year, we took it to another level.”
MIAA A LACROSSE CHAMPIONSHIP
at Johns Hopkins University
No. 1 Calvert Hall College 12, No. 2 McDonogh School 6
Goals: McDonogh – Powderly 3, Catlett, Parr, Simmons; Calvert Hall – Curry 4, D. Kelly 3, J. Kelly 2, Herbert, Mitchell, Sawyer
Assists: McDonogh – Sweeney 3, Parr, Powderly; Calvert Hall – Bugliosi 2, Curry 2, Herbert
Saves: McDonogh – Long 9; Calvert Hall – Darragh 4
McDonogh 1 2 2 1 – 6
Calvert Hall 3 2 5 2 – 12