Cardinals overcome a halftime deficit to defeat John Carroll and claim the third seed in the MIAA A Black Division; Gilman also clinches a playoff spot

by Joe DiBlasi

Calvert Hall topped visiting John Carroll 3-1 on Wednesday afternoon to clinch the third and final playoff spot in the Black Division of the MIAA A conference.

The Patriots arrived in Towson with a chance to capture a playoff berth, with coach Jim Fendryk’s club needing to win their final two games of the regular season to make it to the post-season. The Hall needed at least a tie to advance to post season play.

Ben Bender scored two goals to help Calvert Hall earn its way back to the MIAA A Conference playoffs.

The Cardinals got the victory.

For close to 50 minutes, the Patriots looked as if they were set to achieve phase one of their plan, carrying a 1-0 lead (on a goal by Gavin Greene) into the second half.

But when the Cardinals’ talented Ben Bender got the Cards on the board with a header, at 31:10 in the second half, the momentum started to swing Calvert Hall’s way.

“We got fouled 30 yards out and Mike Gisriel played a long dive on the ball, and it came to my head on the back post, and I headed it a little over the keeper.” said the senior midfielder.

Bender got what proved to be the game-winner 20 minutes later. “We got a corner, and Hayden Lim played it back post, and I headed back across the goal again.”

Bender also played a key role when the Cards got an insurance goal with 5 minutes left. He got the ball in the middle and played it to David Peters on the left side. Peter shot it and then after a deflection, Will Andrus booted one home.

Bender said, “We started off slow in the first half, but we switched some things up in the second half and the urgency was there.”

“We had a heart-to-heart at halftime and I told them it was time for the seniors to step up for us to make the playoffs,” said Calvert Hall coach Rich Zinkand.

Bender and his teammates responded on Senior Day, with the come-from-behind victory.

The Cards (7-6-1 overall, 7-5-1 Division), finished the regular season with 22 points. They will play at Mount St. Joseph, the second seed in the Red Division, next Tuesday in a quarterfinal match.

John Carroll (6-8, 5-7) has 15 points with one game left on their schedule and will miss the post-season.

“For 40 minutes today, we had a game plan that we executed very well,” said John Carroll coach Jim Fendryk. “We made it real tough for them to play in the middle third of the field, and we forced them into wide spaces, which made them play long. In the second half, we got away from that a little. They scored twice inside the 18, and the team that wins the box usually wins the game.

“We we’re a little inconsistent this year, but we’re improving and I’m happy with our progress.”

Also on Wednesday, Gilman defeated Archbishop Spalding, 1-0, to clinch the third seed in the Red Division. That means the Greyhounds will travel to Loyola, on Tuesday, for a quarterfinal game with the Loyola, the second seed in the Black Division.

Top-ranked Archbishop Curley is the top seed in the Black Division and will host the Mount St. Joseph/Calvert Hall winner, in one semifinal game, on Thursday, Oct. 31. Also on Halloween, McDonogh, the top seed in the Red Division, will host the Loyola/Gilman winner in the other semifinal.

JC 1 0 — 1
CH 0 3 — 3
GOALS: JC-Greene; CH- Bender 2, Andrus.
ASSISTS: JC -Gradus; CH- Gisriel, Barwick.
SAVES: JC-Wagner 5; CH-Levis 3.