Top-ranked Calvert Hall emerges from a heavyweight battle with St. Mary’s with five unanswered goals; Jacob Kelly leads the way

by Dave Larkin

In yet another critical MIAA A Conference lacrosse encounter, top-ranked Calvert Hall and No. 3 St. Mary’s traded blows, in one goal increments, like a pair of heavyweight prize fighters through three quarters of play, Friday evening in Annapolis.

In the final “round” the Cardinals finally landed the knockout, scoring five unanswered goals, to break a 10-10 tie and leave the game Saints down for the count in a 15-10 decision for Calvert Hall.

Calvert Hall’s senior co-Captain and reigning 2017 VSN Player of the Year, attackman Jacob Kelly, (4 goals, 4 assists) set the pace with four goals and four assist including three scores in the fourth quarter, and the defending MIAA A champs gobbled up every face-off and ground ball as they pulled away from the talented Saints in the decisive fourth quarter.

St. Mary’s got on the board first when senior attackman Jack Burnett (3 goals, 2 assists) used a perfect feed from junior middie Ryan Jones, to put the Saints up 1-0 with 4:56 left in the first quarter. Less than a minute later, junior attackman Grant Mitchell scored an unassisted goal for the Cardinals to tie the game at 1-1. From there, the horserace was on. Calvert Hall senior midfielder Timmy Kroneberger bullied his way inside to put the Cards up 3-2 to end the first quarter.

St Mary’s Senior midfielder Taylor Bohanan responded with a second quarter hat-trick to lead the Saints to a 7-6 lead at the intermission.

St. Mary’s head coach Victor Lilly was effusive with praise when asked about the remarkable improvement in his senior midfielder’s skills and leadership.

“Taylor is a special player,” said Lilly. “He has worked his tail off in the last 18 months. We switched him from attack to midfield this year and he has put in all the work in the weight room and on the practice field, and it is paying dividends for him. He has led this team on and off the field, and we are proud to have him as one of our Captains.”

The third quarter was a blur of end to end action, with both squads firing on all cylinders. Calvert Hall junior midfielder Jack Sawyer netted two of his three goals, both assisted by Jacob Kelly, and St. Mary’s speedy sophomore Alex Wicks netted an unassisted goal to tie the game at 10 to end the quarter.

Calvert Hall set the tone for a dominating fourth quarter when sophomore midfielder Cole Herbert (2 goals, 2 assists) fed a cutting Jacob Kelly, who fired a blistering shot into the back of net with only 58 seconds elapsed. The Cards dominated the face-off X and gobbled up every available ground ball to maintain constant possession and keep the potent Saint’s offense at bay.

With 3:47 remaining, and the Cards leading 14-10, St. Mary’s senior goaltender and co-captain Aleric Fyock left the crease to help create a crucial potential turnover. Calvert Hall’s Sawyer emerged from a wild scrum behind St. Mary’s goal with the ball and easily tossed in his third goal into an empty net for the game’s final tally.

Calvert Hall head coach Bryan Kelly had high praise for St. Mary’s teamwork, tenacity and talent.

“St. Mary’s took advantage of everything they caused,” said Coach Kelly. “They forced us into some turnovers, some silly fouls, and killed us in the first half, especially with their transition game. They really played well offensively, and that hasn’t happened to us in a while. They out ground-balled us, especially on our offensive end.”

When asked about his oldest son Jacob, a 2018 Under Armor All-American, Coach Kelly responded, “He is the smartest player I have ever coached. He sees things before they happen. What I love about him as a lacrosse player is he doesn’t care if he scores or an assist; he only wants to win. Whatever it takes to win, he is going to do it.”

Jacob Kelly was asked to describe the game.

“It was a shootout tonight, back and forth,” he said. “We had momentum, and they would take it away. At the end, we just turned it up. This is a tough place to win, far from home. I would say the main difference was our face-off and wing play, especially on ground balls.”

Kelly embraces his roll as Calvert Hall’s Field General.

“I like to think of myself as kind of the quarterback. The quarterback has to know where everybody is going to be, and when and where. I work on that every day at practice. I’ve grown up the son of a coach, and I think about that all of the time. If you can take that part of your game to another level, it really helps the team out.”

Calvert Hall will enjoy a bye on Tuesday as they gear up for next Friday’s showdown with Boys’ Latin, while St. Mary’s travels to Gilman on Tuesday. When Coach Lilly was asked what his team will be working on, he quickly replied, “Ground balls and the face-off X.”

Pictured above: Senior All-American Jacob Kelly scored four goals, including three in the fourth quarter to help top-ranked Calvert Hall pull away from No. 3 St. Mary’s.

CH 3 3 4 5 — 15
SM 2 5 3 0 — 10
GOALS: CH-J. Kelly 4, Swayer 3, Herbert 2, Mitchell 2, D. Kelly 1, Kroneberger 1, Mintzer 1, Ilardo 1; SM-Bhanan 3, Burnett 3, Nilson 2, Rigley 1, Wicks 1.
ASSISTS: CH-J. Kelly 4, D. Kelly 3, Herbert 2, Mitchell 1, Green 1; SM-Burnett 2, Bohanan 1, Kempf 2, Kerr 1.
SAVES: CH-Darragh 3, Marshall 3; SM-Fyock 5.