Lightning strikes delayed the start of Tuesday’s heavyweight MIAA lacrosse showdown between the top two teams in the VSN Top 20 for nearly an hour.  By the end of the game, however, the sun continued to shine on top-ranked Calvert Hall’s undefeated season, as the host Cardinals surged to a 9-6 victory over No. 2 St. Paul’s.

Calvert Hall (11-0, 7-0) led most of the way, but St. Paul’s did battle its way to a 6-5 lead with 2:17 to play in the third quarter when Robby Maddux netted his second goal of the day, with an assist from Jay Carlson (2 goals, one assist).

The lead lasted all of 25 seconds before Patrick Kelly tied the contest with an unassisted diving shot, which was followed, 22 seconds later, by a Carter Brown goal, giving the Cardinals a 7-6 lead heading into the final quarter of play.

Kelly discussed the difficulty in having to wait out a weather delay.

“We try to make it so it doesn’t do anything to the tempo,” said Patrick Kelly, who led the Cardinals with four goals and two assists.  “Basically, we go in there, go over the scouting report, go through our a matchups, see how to plan for the game and stay loose, [do] some stretching and play some wall ball.”

With the Calvert Hall defense blanking St. Paul’s throughout the final quarter, Carter Brown completed a hat-trick, with a feed from Patrick Kelly, who also scored the game’s final goal (unassisted) with 9:28 to play.

“We just kept working hard, moving the ball and I got some easy looks on the crease and it was real easy for me to finish,” said Carter Brown.

Brown also complimented St. Paul’s (9-4, 4-3).  “They’re a good team.  They had a great defense.  Overall, just a great team.  They worked very hard and so did we.”

Carlson scored the first goal of the day, making a strong charge from behind the cage and beating a defender with a swim move, before squeezing off an accurate shot to put St. Paul’s up 1-0 in the opening quarter.

Calvert Hall countered with a three goal flurry fueled by the dominant face-off work of sophomore Stephen Kelly, who won 14-of-17 draws and scooped 14 ground balls in the contest.  First, Stephen Kelly ignited a fast break, feeding cousin Patrick Kelly who assisted Ryan Brown to tie the game at one.

Stephen KellyStephen Kelly then took the ensuing draw all the way to box, unleasing a high hard shot that goalie Gunner Waldt blocked but could not prevent from trickling into the cage.  The Cardinals then scored their third goal in a 19-second span when Carter Brown finished with an assist from Brown.

Spencer Parks got one back for St. Paul’s when he got free for an unassisted tally with a reverse spin near the crease, with 2:45 to play in the opening quarter, pulling the Crusaders within one at 3-2.

The second quarter featured just one goal by each team.  Patrick Kelly’s second score, with 8:23 to go in the half, gave the Cardinals a 4-2 advantage, but Robby Maddux took a feed from Gavin Llewellyn to help St. Paul’s keep pace.

The third quarter featured two ties.  Carlson pulled St. Paul’s even with his second unassisted goal.  Calvert Hall followed with an extra-man goal with Ryan Brown finishing a pass from Patrick Kelly.  Llewellyn came back with an unassisted score for St. Paul’s, knotting things at six, but the Crusaders bogged down from there.

Despite the undefeated start nothing comes easy in the MIAA A Conference and Calvert Hall will now move onto a battle with McDonogh on Thursday in Owings Mills.  The Eagles (10-2, 6-1) defeated Severn, 10-7, on Tuesday and sit just one game back of the Cardinals in the Black Division.

St. Paul’s will visit Loyola on Thursday as it battles to retain its hold on third place in the Black Divison.

Calvert Hall 9, St. Paul’s 6
SP  2  1  3  0  — 6
CH  3  1  3  2  — 9
SP-Carlson 2, Maddux 2, Llewellyn, Parks; CH-P. Kelly 4, C. Brown 3, R. Brown, S. Kelly.
Assists: SP-Llewellyn, Carlson.
Saves: SP-Waldt 7; CH-Brust 6.