No. 3 Calvert Hall spoils the celebration as St. Paul’s dedicates its beautiful new Mitchell Stadium

by Dave Larkin

Fans packed the stands of the beautiful new George L. Mitchell Stadium, which was dedicated prior to Friday’s St. Paul’s/Calvert Hall lacrosse game in Brooklandville.

The St. Paul’s School enjoyed a packed house on Friday as it celebrated Senior Day and dedicated their sparkling new George L. Mitchell Stadium at Tullai Field on a warm and muggy afternoon in Brooklandville.

Unfortunately for the No. 8 Crusaders, the visiting and third-ranked Calvert Hall Cardinals seemed to start scoring at will as soon as they exited their team bus, building a lead that reached as high as 11 goals in the second half before settling for a dominant 14-6 victory.

The Cards raced out to a 4-0 lead after the first quarter. Junior midfielder Grant Mitchell opened the scoring as he face-dodged two defenders and launched a blistering high-left shot, finding the back of the net with only 21 seconds elapsed. Soon after, junior middie Jack Sawyer took a feed from senior attackman Jacob Kelly to put the Cards up 2-0 with 8:40 left in the first. The rout was on.

The Cardinals (13-3 overall, 7-2) used a dominating face-off advantage, a ferocious ground ball game, and stellar defense to dominate the first half, limiting St. Paul’s to precious few offensive possessions.

Despite being outgunned on the scoreboard, the Crusaders played with passion. Several exciting ground ball battles and turnover opportunities erupted near midfield as players from both squads delivered more than a few hard, but clean hits. The crowd erupted with several roars of joy as bodies flew through the air like so many discarded paper plates. St. Paul’s certainly gave as good as it got.

With a balanced offensive attack, Calvert Hall led 7-2 at intermission. Senior midfielder Timmy Kroneberger closed the scoring in the third to put the Cards up 10-2. Calvert Hall’s Herbert and fellow midfielders Grant Mitchell and Harrison Ewing continued the Cardinal onslaught to lead 13-2 early in the final quarter.

Tyler Harry, Andrw Melani, Spencer Hall, Nick Ioannoli, Mason Woodward and Troy Barthelme scored for St Paul’s and Calvert Hall got a tally from Noah Stecher to account for the 14-6 final.

Despite Calvert Hall’s offensive prowess, Head Coach Bryan Kelly had plenty of praise for his stalwart defense. Senior defenseman “Garrett Zungalia (6-foot-6, All-MIAA A Volleyball Striker) played great,” said Kelly. “George Walsh and Jake Snyder played outstanding.”

St. Paul’s Andrew Milani (front) tries to get to a groundball as Calvert Hall’s Kai Sasaki (26) and Kyle Epple closes in during the second half of Friday’s MIAA A Conference lacrosse match. The No. 3 Cardinals spoiled Senior Day for the Crusaders with a 14-6 decision on Tullai Field.

When asked what helped shut down such a potent St. Paul’s offense, Zungailia stated, “It was our communication. We slid well, and that frustrated them, especially on their “extra-man” opportunities. When you dominate the X and when our middies play as well as they did today, we are a really good team.”

Coach Kelly agreed.

“It’s important for our middies to make plays. They are a talented group, but they must make plays as a part of our offense, and that’s what they did today. When they create that side-to-side ball movement, it makes it easier for our offense to be much more effective.”

Senior standout, and reigning VSN Player of the Year Jacob Kelly finished with three goals and four assists. When asked about his immediate plans and goals, he did not mention Senior Week at the beach or any prom plans. He simply stated with authority, “Beat Loyola.”

It should be noted that 47 years ago, the great Dick Edell (The Big Man) led Calvert Hall to a share of it’s first title in the old Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA). The Hall beat an undefeated St. Paul’s squad to tie the Crusaders for the coveted MSA trophy in 1971. Coach Edell passed away this week from pneumonia at the age of 74. He had also battled inclusion body myositis, a debilitating muscular disease that left him wheel chair bound since 2001.

Indeed a showdown with arch-rival Loyola looms on Tuesday for the Cardinals at Calvert Hall. Both teams are 7-2 in league play and tied for second and they will battle for the second seed in the playoffs which comes with a first round bye and a free pass to the league semifinals. Since both teams have lost to McDonogh, neither can supplant the top-ranked Eagles (8-1) from the top seed.

If Loyola loses it would be the third seed as it owns a tie-break on fourth-place Boys’ Latin (6-3), should those two end up tied. If Calvert Hall loses, it could drop down to the fourth seed, since BL owns the tie-break on the Cardinals.

St. Paul’s (7-8 overall, 4-5), which closes its season at BL in their annual rivalry game, has been eliminated from playoff contention. The Crusaders are currently tied for seventh place with Gilman and should they pull an upset of the Lakers, there is a possibility they could end up in a three-way tie for sixth and even a four-way tie for fifth, but either way the tie-breakers do not favor St. Paul’s and they cannot finish among the six teams that will qualify for the postseason.

CH 4 3 6 1 — 14
SP 0 2 1 3 — 6
GOALS: CH-J. Kelly 3, D. Kelly 3, Mitchell 2, Herbert 2, Kroneberger, Sawyer, Ewing, Wtetcher; SP-Barthelme, Milani, Hall, Woodward, Harry, Ionnou.
ASSISTS: CH-J. Kelly 4, D. Kelly, Kroneberger, Ilardo, Stewart, Mintzer.
SAVES: CH-Darragh 9, Marshal 4; SP-Grant 8.

Photos and video by Derek Toney