No. 1 Calvert Hall surges past Gilman, remains perfect in MIAA A lacrosse; Sawyer and G. Mitchell each post 4 goals (VIDEO HERE!)
by Nelson Coffin
Conditions were ripe for Gilman School, after a scintillating 14-13 overtime win over Loyola Blakefield on Tuesday, to make a huge statement against top-ranked Calvert Hall College on Saturday afternoon in front of a large crowd on Alumni Weekend in Roland Park.
Calvert Hall, though, proved its lofty ranking and elevated status as the two-time defending MIAA A Conference champs are both well earned. The Cardinals spotted the Greyhounds an early 1-0 advantage and then gradually picked up steam on the way to a thorough 15-7 victory to remain unbeaten in the nation’s premier league.
Gilman coach Brooks Matthews, who roomed with Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly for two years when they were standout defenseman at North Carolina in the late 1980s, said the Cardinals’ victory was a product of several factors, including a wickedly proficient ability to win ground balls.
“In lacrosse, you go to ground balls first,” Matthews said. “Whether on the wings (on face-offs) or just (on 50-50 balls) in the middle of the field, Calvert Hall beat us. They were tenacious and tough.”
Despite the fact that Gilman’s defense is noted for its power and size, The Hall’s offense was up to the challenge.
“Their first offensive six is just outstanding,” Matthews said, lauding Jack Sawyer (4 goals, 1 assist), Grant Mitchell (4 goals, 1 assist), Connor Mitchell (2 goals, 1 assist), Truitt Sunderland (2 goals, 1 assist), Daniel Kelly (1 goal, 5 assists), Cole Herbert (1 goal, 1 assist). “They make great reads, great decision and they execute. They’re very unselfish.”
The evidence of that was clear to see in the stat sheet, which showed that the Cardinals (13-1 overall, 7-0 MIAA A) produced 11 assists in the game.
Junior attackman Jack Tortolani got the Greyhounds (8-5, 4-3 MIAA A) off on the right foot when he scored 27 seconds after the opening faceoff win by junior specialist Nick Tussing on a nifty backhander. The Cardinals responded when senior midfielder Grant Mitchell rifled in the equalizer with just under six minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Senior attackman Sawyer then converted the first of five feeds by junior attackman Kelly to give Calvert Hall the lead for good. Senior Colin Stewart, running on the second midfield line, pushed in a rebound before Grant Mitchell barreled through Gilman’s longsticks for a 4-1 lead with under a minute left in the period.
Tortolani notched an extra-man goal to make it 4-2 heading into the second quarter, which was played in relatively even fashion, with Grant Mitchell and Sawyer scoring for the Cards and senior middle Will Godine finding the net for Gilman. The third quarter and most of the final frame belonged to the visitors, who went on a dominating 9-2 run over the ensuing 19 minutes to put the game out of reach.
“In the first half, we as coaches, kind of let the game get to us,” Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly said. “There was a little too much intensity and Gilman changed its defense — and it took us awhile to adjust. Brooks is a great coach and a great friend, and he’s such a competitor. We’ve had five-goal leads on them and they’ve come back to win, so you just never get too comfortable when you’re playing his team. ”
Bryan Kelly, whose squad has won 14 straight MIAA A decisions since last season’s, said he liked his team’s penchant team play.
“We teach that,” he said. “We’re playing well as a team, and it’s never about just one guy.”
Six-foot-2, 200-pound senior defenseman Parker Byrd, who held standout Gilman attackman Sam King to one assist, said that practicing against attackmen Sawyer, Sunderland and Kelly keeps the Cardinal defense sharp.
“I’ve played against (King) a couple of times, and he’s one of the best attackmen in the MIAA — he’s going to Denver,” the North Carolina commit said. “But playing against those guys really helps.”
NO. 1 CALVERT HALL COLLEGE 15, NO. 4 GILMAN SCHOOL 7
Goals: Calvert Hall – Jack Sawyer 4, Grant Mitchell 4, Connor Mitchell 2, Truitt Sunderland 2, Daniel Kelly, Cole Herbert, Colin Stewart; Gilman – Jack Tortolani 2, Will Godine 2, Logan Paff, Jed Brummett, Pierce Washburn
Assists: Calvert Hall – Daniel Kelly 5, Truitt Sunderland, Jack Sawyer, Grant Mitchell, Ethan Long, Connor Mitchell, Cole Herbert; Gilman – Sam King, Dutch Furlong, Billy SpilmaN
Saves: Calvert Hall – Jackson Marshall 4, Luke Downs; Gilman – Noah Klein 14
Calvert Hall 4 2 7 2 — 15
Gilman 2 1 1 3 — 7