No. 5 St. Mary’s rallies past third-ranked Calvert Hall to remain unbeaten; Golini, Hopkins and Adams score three goals each for the Saints


by Nelson Coffin

At both ends of the field in the pressure-packed fourth quarter at No. 3 Calvert Hall on Friday night, the fifth-ranked St. Mary’s lacrosse team proved that it was ready to handle the most dire situations gracefully, skillfully and successfully in a 13-12 triumph.

The Saints were the better team in the late going of the MIAA A Conference tussle, closing out the Cardinals with a clutch 5-2 run over the final 9:02 of the fourth quarter before making a defensive stand that withstood a four-shot salvo in the final seconds of regulation in the hosts’ frantic bid to send the game into overtime.

Trailing, 10-8, entering the fourth period, St. Mary’s (8-0, 2-0 A Conference) scored four goals in just over three minutes, with Nick Golini netting two goals, fellow junior attackman Jake Adams adding one and senior attackman Will Hopkins another during the pivotal spree.

“We just gutted it out,” said Golini, who gave the unbeaten Saints the lead for good after he rubbed off a pick and broke free to fire a missile past Calvert Hall senior goalie Luca Mercaldo with 6:47 to go in the contest.

Just 36 seconds later, Adams knifed through the Cardinals’ defense to one-time a shot into the net to broaden St. Mary’s advantage to 12-10.

Calvert Hall junior attackman Nick Steele answered with a wrap-around goal with 4:06 to go, making it a one-goal game again until junior midfielder Bobby Keane restored the Saints’ cushion back to two tallies.

Calvert Hall senior attackman Jordan Wray bullied his way inside to beat St. Mary’s senior net-minder Zach Overend from close range with 58 second left to set the stage for an exciting conclusion to the battle.

Junior FOGO Jason Strickland then snared the ensuing face-off before the Cardinals (6-2- 0-1) threw the ball away.

A strong ride, however, turned the ball back over to Calvert Hall, which took four unsuccessful shots as the time expired.

The Saints’ defense, which held Loyola Blakefield’s offense in check in a 9-6 verdict over the Dons on Tuesday, was spot-on when it needed to be on Friday as well.

That was especially true of junior Penn State commit Dillon Torggler’s ability to hold CHC’s University of Virginia-bound attackman Truitt Sunderland to a goal and an assist.

“They’ll see a lot of each other in college, I’m sure,” St. Mary’s coach Victor Lilly said. “They’re both great players.”

Lilly said that his defense rose to the occasion in the clutch.

“You have to KYP — know your personnel,” he said, alluding to his backline doing just enough to help the Saints to escape with the victory. “When you play a team like Calvert Hall, you have to play well to win.”

Senior midfielder EJ Vasile and junior running mate Wyatt Hottle each scored twice in the first quarter to help build a 4-1 lead for the Cardinals, who led, 7-5, at the half when Hottle notched his third tally of the game with just 11 seconds left until the intermission.

A beautiful backhand shot by Georgetown commit Wray boosted the margin to 8-5 early in the third quarter.

The Saints refused to go away, getting goals by Hopkins, Adams and junior midfielder Erik Chick to keep it close before making a final run to victory.

“Physically, we played hard,” Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly said. “We had too many penalties. The whole team needs to grow up and get tougher mentally.”

While the Saints will have a week off to prepare for Mount St. Joseph, the Cardinals will host the Gaels on Tuesday.

Pictured above: St. Mary’s defensive players huddle at halftime of Friday night’s MIAA A Conference battle against Calvert Hall in Towson. The Saints won, 13-12, to remain unbeaten this season.

NO. 5 ST. MARY’S 13, NO. 3 CALVERT HALL 12

St. Mary’s 2 3 3 5 — 13
Calvert Hall 4 3 3 2 — 12

Goals: SM-Will Hopkins 3, Jake Adams 3, Nick Golini 3, Bobby Keane 2, George Acton, Erik Chick; CH-Wyatt Hottle 3, EJ Vasile 2, Davis Provost 2, Jordan Wray 2, Nick Steele 2, Truitt Sunderland.
Assists: SM-Gavin Burlace 3, Will Hopkins, Brogan Stofa; CH-Wyatt Hottle 3, Davis Provost 2, Nick Steele, Truitt Sunderland, Jordan Wray.
Saves: SM-Zach Overend 13; Luca Mercaldo 10.