Cardinals sidestep an upset scare with a big third quarter comeback

by Dave Larkin

When you have a champion on the ropes the last thing you want to do is give him an opening to fight his way out of a jam. Unfortunately for No. 7 Gilman, it did just that on Tuesday and Greyhounds paid dearly in an 11-7 MIAA A Conference loss to top-ranked Calvert Hall, as the squads opened their respective conference schedules on a dreary spring afternoon.

Gilman (5-2 overall, 0-1 MIAA A) was playing outstanding lacrosse as it built a 6-3 lead on the defending A Conference title holders, late in the second quarter. A slashing penalty, however, put the Cardinals in an extra-man situation and they promptly capitalized as Cole Herbert fed Jacob Kelly for a quick score and the Greyhound lead was sliced to two at the half.

Grant Mitchell (left) and Cole Herbert combined for five goals and three assists.

The Cardinals (7-1 overall, 1-0 MIAA A) added their third extra-man tally of the afternoon early in the third quarter as they advanced an eight goal surge that coincided with a scoring drought of more than 22 minutes for Gilman. Calvert Hall finally took its first lead, with 5:49 remaining in the third quarter as Kelly scored once again, off a feed from his sophomore brother Daniel.

Junior midfielder Grant Mitchell and his line-mate, sophomore Cole Herbert powered the Calvert Hall offense as they combined for five goals and three assists, with Herbert netting a team-high three goals to go with two helpers.

In the early going, Gilman displayed a superb passing game, domination at the X, and a hot goaltender to build a 6-3 advantage. Greyhound senior standout midfielder Piper Bond opened the scoring with an unassisted goal with 10:04 left in the first quarter.

One minute later, Mitchell fed Herbert for Calvert Hall’s first tally to tie the game, 1-1. Gilman then outscored the Cards 5-3 to lead at the half 6-4. Gilman junior goalie Noah Klein, a transfer from Friends School, repeatedly stymied the Cardinals, finishing the first half with four saves, and senior middie Liam Muhly excelled, winning 8-of-11 face-offs.

Calvert Hall came out of the halftime intermission with a renewed focus and determination in the second half. With a noticeable extra hop in their step, the Cards roared back with a smothering defense, flawless clears, and laser-like passing and shooting to shutout the Greyhounds and lead 10-6 at the end of the pivotal third quarter. Standout senior defenseman Garrett Zungalia, a Towson University commit, used his length and agility to help create several offensive opportunities.

Several turnovers and a few untimely penalties plagued the Roland Park squad, giving up three shorthanded goals on the day. When asked about his team’s penalties, Gilman coach Brooks Matthews explained that it is a matter of discipline.

“We’ve been working on playing with energy, playing with passion, playing with emotion,” said Matthews. “We learned really quickly today that you’ve got to have your emotions under control. We lost a little bit of discipline in the third quarter.”

Calvert Hall Head Coach Bryan Kelly praised the Greyhound’s grit and tenacity in the first half.

“They just out ground-balled us and out-hustled us,” said Coach Kelly. “I think they out-competed us in the first half.”

When asked what made the difference in the second half, Kelly remarked, “I thought Jacob Kelly gave a great halftime talk and I thought he got the team sparked, ready to go. It’s good when your senior leadership is the one getting everybody going, and that was big for us.”

The formidable combination of Mitchell and Holbert will go a long way in helping the Cardinals defend their 2017 MIAA-A title. The big and athletic duo not only ride their opponents with a vengeance, but they have also developed a potent offensive chemistry.

“We were on the same line last year, which has really helped us this year,” said Herbert.

Mitchell credited Jacob Kelly’s half time speech for Calvert Hall’s second half turnaround. “He’s one of us, so he knows how to get us fired up, and he did the job.”

The MIAA A gauntlet gets no easier for either team. Gilman will return home on Friday to challenge No. 2 Boys’ Latin, while Calvert Hall travels to No. 15 Archbishop Spalding, which is coming off a huge upset of Loyola, on Friday night.

Pictured above: Gilman’s Piper Bond (left) defends Calvert Hall’s Cole Herbert, who scored a hat-trick in the victory.

GIL 3 3 0 1 — 7
CH 3 1 6 0 — 11
Goals: GIL-DeMuth 2, Spilman 2, D. Godine, Washburn, Bond; CH-Herbert 3, J. Kelly 2, Mitchell 2, Sawyer, D. Kelly, Ilardo, Smith.
Assists: GIL-Bond, D. Godine 2, W. Godine; CH-Mitchell 2, D. Kelly, Herbert, Ilardo.
Saves: GIL-Klein 10; CH-Darragh 5.