On Friday night in Towson, Calvert Hall lacrosse coach Bryan Kelly had to admit, that he, unlike most of his players, thought about that fateful night in March of 2012 when his Cardinals were outscored, 6-0, down the stretch in a stunning 11-10 setback to Philadelphia public school power Conestoga.
The loss ruined the Cardinals' chance to claim a mythical national championship, even though they did capture the coveted Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference crown two months later.
With perhaps less on the line, Kelly's Cardinals held another 10-5 advantage in the third quarter on Friday against the Pioneers. Only this time Calvert Hall showed a killer instinct it lacked two years ago, beating Conestoga, 13-8.
The victory improved the Cardinals to 7-1 while the Pioneers suffered their first loss in three tries this spring.
"Yeah, I thought about it, but not many of our guys were even on the team that night," Kelly said with a wry grin. "Look, there's never a good loss, but I thought we learned an awful lot from that game."
He learned a bunch from this year's encounter as well, most notably that sophomore Jack Kinnear can be a viable option on the attack unit after moving from midfield because of an injury to senior attackman Andrew Fanshaw.
Kinnear was explosive, efficient and effective playing behind the goal, scoring a career-best six goals and adding two assists to give Kelly a pleasant dilemma when Fanshaw returns.
"The other guys really helped me," Kinnear said. "They were beating their men and I was getting a lot of good looks. Timmy (Kelly, 2 goals and 4 assists) always beats his man, so I was getting open. I got a couple of dodges in, too."
Kelly's junior classmate Jason Brown (2 and 2) and freshman JT Bugliosi (2 assists) rounded out a banner night for the attack.
"He (Kinnear) was catching and finishing from the back side," Kelly said. "He did a really good job."
The Cardinals scored first on Brown's put-back of his own missed shot before sophomore midfielder Braden Atkinson doubled the advantage when he converted a Kinnear feed.
Calvert Hall then notched another goal on nice feed inside from Bugliosi to Kinnear to jump ahead, 3-0, midway through the first period.
The Pioneers responded six second later when face-off middie Christian Jobs fed senior attackman Jake Scott to make it, 3-1.
The Cardinals then went on a 3-0 run to close the period on goals by sophomore midfielder Ethan Mintzer, Kinnear and Brown to lead, 6-1.
The Philadelphia school then crept back into contention by scoring three times to offset goals by Kelly and Kinnear to trail, 8-4, at the intermission.
Kinnear struck twice to open the third quarter before junior attackman Jack Sleicher answered for the Pioneers to make it 10-5 and bring up bad memories for the Calvert Hall coach.
However, Kinnear dispersed the demons with his sixth goal with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter and the Calvert Hall defense remained poised in front of sophomore goalie Joe McSorley (9 saves).
The final scare was a two-minute non-releasable penalty on the Cardinals that they killed without allowing a goal.
"I was impressed with Calvert Hall's pace," Conestoga coach Brian Samson said. "They had a good team effort and were always looking for each other. I thought we were three steps behind them all night."
Calvert Hall 13 Conestoga 8
Goals: Con-Schleicher 2, Scott 3, Hildebrand, Scott, Atkinson CH-Kinnear 6, Kelly 2, Brown 2, Atkinson, Mintzer, M. Fanshaw
Assists: Con-Schleicher, Jobs, Atkinson, Brady CH-Kelly 4, Brown 2, Mintzer, Kinnear 2, Bugliosi 2
Saves: Con-Green 5, Roulston 3 CH-Mcsorley 9, Flock 1
Half: CH 8-4
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