Cardinals clamp down St. Mary’s for another trip to MIAA A lax final four; Wray and Long combine for four goals (VIDEO HERE!)
by Dave Larkin
In a season of ups-and-downs, Calvert Hall College lacrosse finds itself again in position for another championship.
The Cardinals defeated St. Mary’s, 8-3, in a MIAA A Conference quarterfinal match at sun-drenched Pascal Field in Annapolis. Ethan Long and Jordan Wray each scored two goals for Calvert Hall (8-4 overall).
Using a suffocating defense and an opportunistic ground ball game, Calvert Hall broke loose from a 3-3 tie in the third quarter, scoring the final five straight goals to earn a return trip to the state capital for the MIAA A final four Tuesday evening. The sixth-seeded Cardinals will play No. 2 seed Archbishop Spalding in a semifinal at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Junior midfielder Jordan Wray broke a 2-2 halftime deadlock, taking a quick pass from sophomore attack Shuey Kelly and whipped home a wicked low shot to give the Cards their first lead with 9 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the third quarter. One minute later, standout senior attack Tyler Barnett pulled the Saints back even with his third unassisted goal of the game – this one a turnaround jump shot from about 15 yards.
Senior midfielder Liam Kammer put the Cards up for good, when he corralled a highly-contested ground ball and deposited a running right-hander with 8:39 left in the third. It was one of many key hustle plays by the uncommitted Kammer, who also wrestles.
With the shot clock winding down late in the quarter, Long used another slick feed from Shuey Kelly, going behind his back for another score.
The Cardinals lost to St. Mary’s at Pascal last month, ending a 19-game winning streak for the three-time reigning MIAA A champs.
Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly has been proud of his team’s ability to face adversity.
“I’m really proud of them,” said Kelly. “We’ve had some guys hurt. We lost Truitt (Sunderland), for the year, and then we lost Wyatt Hottle, and guys keep stepping up and battling. I kept preaching to the guys, and I always do – we need to keep getting better at the right time.”
The “right time” was apparently after a 14-8 thumping by Archbishop Spalding two weeks ago.
“After the Spalding game, we needed to make some changes. Just getting guys in the right spots. We weren’t getting our attack involved. All of our guys are involved now, and I think it’s a little more challenging for teams to cover us.”
St. Mary’s coach Victor Lilly was proud of his Saints’ effort and was impressed with Calvert Hall’s improvement since the teams’ first battle, especially on the defensive side.
“Calvert Hall had a lot to do with what we did today. Kudos to Calvert Hall,” said Lilly, whose team dropped its final three decisions after a 6-1 start.
Cardinal junior goalie Tommy Lubin had another impressive outing, backing up a stout defense led by junior JK Kelly.
Kelly has been covering the best offensive weapons in what is widely regarded as the country’s finest high school boys lacrosse league.
“It’s tough,” said Kelly. “It’s tough competition every game. Everyone is good. I just try to do my best to help the team. I think we’re peaking at the right time.”
“Our defense played great, and our offense came together in the second half,” Lubin added. “We finally brought our whole game together. We know what we have to do. We just have to get it done.”
The Cardinals next challenge is Spalding, which eliminated Severn School, in a quarterfinal Saturday evening in Severn. The Cavaliers, playing in their first MIAA A final four, pulled away from Calvert Hall in the second half in the teams’ first meeting at Kelly Field in Severn.
“I think this team is different from years past. We’ve had to battle adversity, and we’re able to gel at the right time,” said Kammer. “We’re just able to play more consistent lacrosse for 48 minutes.”
MIAA A CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL
CALVERT HALL COLLEGE 8, ST. MARY’S 3
Goals: Calvert Hall – Ethan Long 2, Jordan Wray 2, Jack Cyrek, Liam Kammer, Mic Kelly, EJ Vasile; St. Mary’s – Tyler Barnett 3
Assists: Calvert Hall – Shuey Kelly 2, JoJo Dean, Long, Dan Reilly
Saves: Calvert Hall – Tommy Lubin 6; St. Mary’s – Wes Schmidt 5
Calvert Hall 0 2 3 3 – 8
St. Mary’s 1 1 1 0 – 3