Calvert Hall completes an undefeated regular season with 16-3 rout of Loyola

by Dave Larkin

There is an old saying in the game of lacrosse, and it’s as simple as it is poignant – “You can’t score if you don’t have the ball.”

The Calvert Hall Cardinals, ranked No. 1 all season long by VSN, took those words to heart on Tuesday as they continued their stranglehold on the MIAA A Conference with a 16-3 thrashing of home-standing arch-rival Loyola Blakefield.

This tilt was virtually over at halftime as the Big Red Machine from East Towson dominated face-offs, ground balls and time of possession to pull away from a 1-1 first quarter tie, with 12 unanswered goals, to lead the third-ranked Dons 13-1 at the half. The Cards were on cruise control in the second half as they delighted their faithful in front of a packed house at sun-baked Hargaden Field.

Calvert Hall, which had already secured a first-round bye, heads into the playoffs with a full head of steam as they await the winner of Friday’s match between Loyola and St. Paul’s, which fell to Boys’ Latin, 8-7 in overtime, on Tuesday. McDonogh capped off an amazing comeback season, securing the remaining playoff slot and will square off against second-seeded St. Mary’s after the Eagles eliminated Gilman with a 10-7 victory.

Calvert Hall’s Chris Cattone.

Calvert Hall senior attackman Jack “Sauce” Sawyer (3G, 1A), who along with teammate Grant Mitchell (1 goal, 1 assist) was named as an Under Armour All-American on Tuesday, opened the scoring for the Cards in the first minute of action. He found an open spot on the crease and converted a perfect feed from junior midfielder Cole Herbert (1G, 2A). Loyola standout junior attackman Jack Koras pulled the Dons even with his first of two goals, when he finished off an impressive fast break attack, with a right-hand rocket.

The Cards then put on a clinic at the face-off X using their Golden Triangle of FOGOs, senior Chris Cottone, junior Tyler Dunn and junior Ham McPartland, to secure 15-of-16 first half draws. Just as impressive was the Cards’ ground ball game, gobbling up 27 in the first half. These possessions were key, enabling the Cardinals to employ their crisp and frenetic passing game, consistently finding open cutters for easy layups.

Junior attackman and North Carolina commit Daniel Kelly was the main beneficiary of the extended Calvert Hall possessions, finishing with four goals and one assist. Freshman Truitt Sunderland also had another big day, scoring a pair of goals and distributing four assists.

But it was the Cardinal seniors that head coach Bryan Kelly praised after the game.

“Great senior leadership today, especially on the defensive end with Jake Snyder and Parker Byrd,” said Kelly. “They have done a great job leading this team. On the offensive end we have the Mitchell brothers (Grant and Connor), Jack Sawyer (3 goals, 1 assist), and our face-off guy Chris Cottone has been great.”

Heading into the playoffs, Coach Kelly has no concerns about complacency.

“We teach humility all of the time. Lacrosse is what they do, it’s not who they are. It’s all about playing and having fun, getting better and preparing for the next game.”

Kelly was asked about the significance of possibly winning his third straight MIAA A crown.

“I don’t even think about it. That’s not who we are. This is a brand-new team. A lot of these guys weren’t here in ’17 and ’18. It’s not something we ever talk about.”

Cottone described his team’s mindset as the Cardinals finished another unbeaten MIAA regular season schedule.

“As a team we just focus on the game in front of us,” said Cottone. “We just enjoy playing together most of all. We want to play with a purpose, playing for each other and playing for God. “

Cottone then recited another simple, yet poignant sports mantra. “One game at a time.”

GOALS: CH-Daniel Kelly 4, Jack Sawyer 3, Truitt Sunderland 2, Josh Webber 2, Grant Mitchell, Mic Kelly, Justin Mintzer, Sean Ketchen, Tyler Dunn; LOY-Jack Koras 2, Charlie Koras, Motley.
ASSISTS: CH-Sunderland 4, Cole Herbert 2, D. Kelly, Sawyer, Webber, G. Mitchell, M. Kelly.
SAVES: CH-Jackson Marshall 6, Luked Downs 6; LOY-Ellington 6, Jack Webb 5.
HALF: Calvert Hall, 13-1.