Calvert Hall outlasts Gilman in MIAA A lacrosse return; Long and S. Kelly each record hat tricks (VIDEO HERE!)

Gilman’s Tucker Hebert (center) looks to get away from Calvert Hall’s Ethan Long (left) and Aden Johnson during Tuesday’s MIAA A Conference lacrosse match. The Cardinals won their 2021 debut with a 10-9 decision over the Greyhounds at Russo Stadium.

by Derek Toney

Excitement and nervousness surrounded Calvert Hall College lacrosse team Tuesday. For the first time in more than a year, the Cardinals played a live game.

Calvert Hall showed some rust, and most importantly, its inexperience against Gilman School in the MIAA A Conference opener for both. In the end, the Cardinals were able to muster some championship mettle.

The Hall held off the Greyhounds, 10-9, at Paul Angelo Russo Stadium in Towson. Sophomore attack Shuey Kelly finished with three goals and two assists for the Cardinals, and Ethan Long added a hat trick.

Up four goals in the fourth, Calvert Hall needed a defensive stop in the waning seconds to claim its 19th straight victory in the nation’s toughest high school lacrosse league. The Cardinals (1-0 overall and MIAA A) also extended their overall win streak to 19.

A lot has changed since Calvert Hall hoisted the MIAA A championship plaque for an unprecedented third straight time in May 2019 at Towson University’s Unitas Stadium. The 2020 league season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hall, which got three non-league matches on the books before the pandemic shut down its season and ended the stay of a veteran nucleus, hoping to leave with a fourth straight MIAA A title. 

That task’s now in the hands of a small senior class, heading up a roster featuring three dozen underclassmen. 

It was trial under fire immediately for the Cardinals Tuesday.

These guys missed the 2020 team and how to handle something like this, so this is all new,” said Calvert Hall longtime coach Bryan Kelly. “And they did some things really well and they did some things not really well and that’s just part of growing.”

“Everybody was antsy and ready to get out there and play… you got to adapt and figure out a way and we did,” said Long, a co-captain who’s headed to Penn State University.

Bryan Kelly was concerned his team didn’t have any scrimmages before the season. The Cardinals had mental and physical lapses in the first half Tuesday before putting together an impressive stretch in the third period.

After Gilman (0-1, 0-1 MIAA A) closed to 6-5, Shuey Kelly finished a helper from senior Mic Kelly. With the shot clock winding down, Shuey Kelly found Long for a tally, extending The Hall lead to 8-5 with 1 minute, 21 seconds left.

The Cardinals forced a turnover, and Shuey Kelly finished a pass from junior midfielder JoJo Dean with 6.8 seconds remaining, sending the advantage to 9-5 entering the fourth. The lead was 10-6 after Jordan Wray worked around a Gilman defender outside of the crease and scored with 6:51 left in regulation.

But the Greyhounds, sparked by extra-man tallies from Charlie Pope and Chase Brody, surged back. The Roland Park school made it 10-9 after Warry Calhoun appeared to lose grip of his stick, but his shot bounced into the goal with 3:15 to play.

The Greyhounds got possession with a minute left and called timeout with 44.7 seconds remaining. Brody, with Calvert Hall junior JK Kelly defending, lost the ball as he tried to shoot, and longstick Luke McAuliffe scooped up the groundball and the Cardinals ran out the clock.

“They’re a good team, but we just listened to our coaches and played as a team,” said JK Kelly. “Our whole defense had a mindset of just stop the ball, play as a team and stop the ball.”

Brody (Army), and Pope (Vermont) each recorded hat tricks for Gilman. Sophomore midfielder Oscar Woloson (two goals) helped rally the Greyhounds in the third from a 6-3 deficit. 

“Hopefully, this proves to our guys that we can compete, but we didn’t come to just keep it close, so we have some work to do,” said Gilman coach John Nostrant. “But we got down 10-6, we battled back and had a chance to tie it up and that’s all you can ask for.”

Nostrant, who made Pennslyvania’s Haverford Academy a national power during a successful 28-year stint before coming to Baltimore to succeed Brooks Matthews at Gilman, got his first official taste of MIAA A lacrosse Tuesday.

Ethan Long (left) had three goals and JK Kelly was part of a key defensive stop in the closing seconds as Calvert Hall won its 19th straight decision in MIAA A play.

“We played really hard today and it was great to be out here competing against Bryan Kelly and a team that has won the MIAA for three years in a row,” Nostrant said. “We just got to keep getting better. The last thing that we want is that we kept it close against Calvert Hall.”

The marathon that’s MIAA A lacrosse has begun, and it could be more of a mystery this spring after a lost 2020 season. 

“I said to them, look we won — we’re 1-0 — and that’s where you want to be. If you think it’s going to be easy, you’re crazy in this league,” said Bryan Kelly, the dean of MIAA A coaches. “Overall, it was fun just to get out and compete and I’m proud of how our guys kind of stayed the course and there’s a lot of things we can build on from it.”

Calvert Hall College 10, Gilman School 9

Goals: Gilman – Chase Brody 3, Charlie Pope 3, Oscar Woloson 2, Warry Calhoun; Calvert Hall – Shuey Kelly 3, Ethan Long 3, JoJo Dean, Wyatt Hottle, Truitt Sunderland, Jordan Wray

Assists: Gilman – Stephen Fulchino, Tucker Hebert, Woloson; Calvert Hall – Mic Kelly 3, Dean 2, Shuey Kelly 2, Long, Sunderland

Saves: Gilman – Kyle Morris 12; Calvert Hall – Tommy Lubin 4, Luke Downs 2

Gilman 2 1 2 4 – 9

Calvert Hall 3 3 3 1 – 10