After beating archival Loyola Blakefield,12-5, on Tuesday afternoon in the final game of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference campaign, Calvert Hall has plenty of reasons to celebrate.
On the other hand, the Cardinals (10-5, 6-3) will lament the loss of top longstick Garrett Epple to a shoulder injury in the first quarter.
The Notre Dame recruit is likely miss the playoffs that begin on Friday when fourth-seeded Calvert Hall hosts St. Paul's, the No. 5 seed, at 4 p.m. at Paul Angelo Russo Stadium at 4 p.m.
With Epple out, the Cardinals' defense still played well in front of freshman goalie Joe McSorley (12 saves) while the offense produced nine unanswered goals to all but sew up the victory over the Dons (10-8, 3-6), who qualified for the final playoff spot after St. Mary's fell to Mt. St. Joe in double overtime.
In another game with playoff implications, Gilman was beaten by archival McDonogh, 10-6. The Greyhounds will host Loyola on Friday at 4 p.m. in the other conference quarterfinal.
The Gilman-Loyola winner will meet No. 2 seed McDonogh and the Calvert Hall-St. Paul's survivor will face undefeated Boys' Latin in the semifinal round on May 14 at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
The Cardinals earned a home game by jumping out early against the Dons, although Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly said he was wary of declaring victory at that point.
"It was a tight, hard-fought game," he said. "Even though we were up, 9-0, I never felt we were totally in control. We knew that Loyola was going to fight to the end."
Still, the Cardinal shooters and feeders — Johnny Kelly (3 goals), Andrew Fanshaw (2 goals, 3 assists), Stephen Kelly (2 goals), Timmy Kelly (2 and 2), Jordan Germershausen (2 and 2) and Luke Ciccarone — were on their game.
"We really had nothing to play for, because we knew we were in (the playoffs)," Bryan Kelly said. "But it was Calvert Hall-Loyola. You could be 0-10, but if you beat Loyola, you've had a great season. I'm sure they feel the same way."