Another Calvert Hall/Loyola rivalry took place on Friday night, this time it was on the volleyball court, where the Loyola Dons (6-7) rolled on to upset Calvert Hall (11-1) in five sets, 26-24, 25-21, 17-25, 29-31, 22-20, knocking off the first place Cardinals in a huge MIAA A Conference battle in a exciting and packed gym, at Blakefield.
“It’s Calvert Hall,” Loyola coach Tim Baier said. “In the words of Joe DiBlasi on the rivalry, ‘If we (CHC/Loy) were playing tiddlywinks, it’d be a fierce competition.’”
What a battle it was, after beating CHC (11-1) in the first two sets, 26-24 and 25-21, the Dons (6-7) took a 2-0 lead going into the third set, looking for the 3-set sweep over the first place Cardinals.
Senior outside hitter for the Dons, Jake Cohen led the charge with 35 kills on the day. Cohen and his setter, fellow senior Danny Finley, had a connection going all match long.
“We just had to keep communicating and get back on track to get the kills going,” Cohen said.
Calvert Hall, however, made it interesting by coming back to win the third set 25-17, adjusting to the Dons attack, and being able to pass the ball well, which led to setter Will Lansinger being able to use the middle and outside attack to the Cardinals’ advantage.
In the fourth set, the Dons did not lead until a Cardinal hitting error gave the Dons a match point at 28-27. But, the Dons were not able to put the match away, as CHC came storming back to win the set 31-29, forcing a fifth set.
Calvert Hall’s outside hitter Andrew Keenan was able to lead the way for the Cardinals to get back into the match and force the most improbable fifth set after being down two sets to start the game.
“I told my guys either man up here or you’re going to go home early,” Calvert Hall coach Anthony Cammarata said, applauding the efforts of his team getting back into the match, “They weren’t ready to go home.”
A back and forth battle it was in the fifth set, as there were 15 lead changes between the two teams in a short, first to 15 set for the match.
The Dons were finally able to put the Cardinals away after back-to-back kills from the man of the night, Cohen, winning the set and match 22-20 on Loyola’s senior day.
“We fought real hard, we know it’s never easy coming to Loyola to win,” Cammarata said, commenting on the hard fought battle from both sides in the expected CHC/Loyola rivalry.
“Loyola and Calvert Hall always has a strong rivalry, it always goes back and forth all the time, there was no stopping on either side tonight,” Cohen said, talking about the energy of the rivalry.
With the season nearing the end and MIAA A Conference playoffs right around the corner, the Loyola’s win over Calvert Hallplays out to be huge, as Loyola sits in fifth place.
Loyola faces another tough conference opponent in Gilman (11-2) next Monday at Gilman at 5:30 p.m, while Calvert Hall is back at home against Boys’ Latin (9-3) at 4:00 p.m. Both games will have serious playoff implications.