Calvert Hall flexes early muscle in dismantling of Florida lax power
by Dave Larkin
Sparked by a dominant face-off game, the Calvert Hall Cardinals flexed some early season muscle, as they dominated Florida’s IMG Academy, 18-3, Tuesday afternoon in Towson.
Coming off a pair of season-opening wins during a weekend trip to North Carolina, the Hall made it clear, from the opening draw, that this was a match-up of two programs on completely different levels.
IMG, an athletic super academy in Bradenton, Florida, which has built nationally ranked programs in nearly all major sports by recruiting blue chip athletes from across the nation, was no match for the clearly more talented and athletic Cardinals. Like most IMG squads, the Ascenders have become well-respected in lacrosse circles, but CHC remains widely regarded as the best team in the nation and the three-time defending MIAA A Conference Champs displayed the size, speed, talent and teamwork that has fueled their recent dominance.
Senior FOGO Tyler Dunn (Johns Hopkins) put on a clinic at the face-off X, Tuesday. Seemingly just practicing his clamp and pass technique, Dunn consistently fed the ball to senior midfielder Kia Sasaki for numerous make-it-take-it opportunities, while limiting IMG possessions. In fact, the Ascenders did not put a shot on goal until well into the second quarter.
Junior midfielder Mic Kelly (Denver) got things started for the Cards, as he blew down the left alley and submitted a low-left dart that found its mark with less than one minute elapsed in the first quarter. Senior middie Josh Webber (Towson) followed with a right-handed rocket that found the upper right corner for a quick 2-0 lead.
Junior Ethan Long (Johns Hopkins) joined the party with two straight goals to put Calvert Hall up 4-0, with 7:20 left in the first. Mic Kelly then assisted on the next three scores, feeding sophomore attackman Jordan Wray, senior attackman Daniel Kelly (North Carolina) and senior midfielder Cole Herbert (North Carolina) to put the Cards up 7-0 with 2:33 remaining.
Freshman Attackman Joshua Kelly scored the last two goals of the first quarter when he, first, scooped in a loose ball, and then deposited a feed from cousin Daniel Kelly, seconds later, to make it 9-0 after one.
After going up 14-0 late in the second quarter the Cards emptied their bench and cruised to a 18-3 victory sending notice that they are serious about their intended MIAA four-peat.
Head Coach Bryan Kelly was pleased with the improvement his Cards have displayed during and after their annual Spring trip to Chapel Hill North Carolina, where they won two games last week.
“I thought we won a lot of early face-offs today, they really don’t have a true faceoff guy,” said Kelly. “That enabled us to start off strong offensively. I was really pleased with our defense too. We didn’t play as well as I thought we could in North Carolina. I was disappointed. But they rebounded and focused on some fundamentals. They really took what we showed them and carried it onto the field today. I was very pleased.”
When asked about his team’s cohesiveness and identity at this early stage in the season, coach Kelly replied, “We have such a long way to go. Honestly, we have such a long, long, way to go. We have a lot of work to do. We’re still trying to figure out who we are, still trying to figure out how to put the right kids in the right spots to be successful. We’re still a work in progress.”
That progress will be tested this Friday when the Cards travel to perennial DC power St. John’s College High School. The Cards will then return home next Tuesday for their annual slugfest with the uber-talented Canadiens from The Hill Academy. Hill handed Calvert Hall its only loss last season.
IMG will stay in town and face Gilman on Thursday.
CALVERT HALL 18, IMG ACADEY 3
GOALS: IMG-Evan Conway, Ellison Burt-Murray, Tommy Maroon; CHC-Daniel Kelly 4, Mic Kelly 3, Truitt Sunderland 3, Ethan Long 2, Joshua Kelly 2, Cole Herbert, Josh Weber, Jordan Wray, Sam Swzeda.
ASSISTS: IMG-Cody Gross; CHC-Mic Kelly 3, Daniel Kelly 2, Ethan Long 2, Truitt Sunderland, Cole Herbert, Olen Huffman, Aiden Fritz.
SAVES: IMG-Carsin Baer 8, Tommy Valor 5; CHC-Jackson Marshall 4, Luke Downs 3, Tommy Lubin 3.
HALF: Calvert Hall, 14-0.
FACE-OFFS: Calvert Hall, 20-5.