Depending on your point of view, the much-anticipated opening of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference season was either well worth the wait or a major disappointment.
There's little doubt which side of the issue No. 1 Calvert Hall (7-1, 1-0 league) came down on after the Cardinals exploded in the second half to power past No. 4 Boys' Latin, 12-5, at J. Duncan Field on Tuesday afternoon.
Leading, 5-4, at halftime, Calvert Hall went on a 7-0 run over the next 19 minutes to hand the Lakers (7-4, 0-1) their most lopsided home loss in at least seven years.
"You know it's always going to be close when you play over here," said Calvert Hall senior attackman Patrick Kelly, a North Carolina recruit who scored three goals and added an assist. "They're a great team, and the atmosphere with their fans make it tough. But we thought if we kept doing what we were doing in the first half, our shots would start to fall."
Senior attackman Ryan Brown sandwiched two goals around one by Kelly during the third quarter to give the Cardinals an 8-4 advantage heading into the final period.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the field, senior goalie Dimitri Pecunes and the Calvert Hall longsticks were keeping Boys' Latin's offense in check.
The unit, backed by 13 saves from Pecunes, generally held the Lakers to one shot per possession — when they could get off a shot at all.
And holding star sophomore attackman Shack Stanwick to a pair of assists aided the cause.
"We collapsed to the hole when Shack had the ball, because he's such a great feeder," Pecunes said.
Besides, it was difficult for Boys' Latin to have enough possessions to keep up with the Cardinals, considering the way junior Stephen Kelly was dominating at the faceoff X. In a brilliant all-around performance, the U.S. Under-19 team performer claimed 12 of 17 draws, scooped up 11 ground balls and produced four points (3 goals, 1 assist) for good measure.
"We had a tough week last week," Boys' Latin coach Bob Shriver. "We outplayed the No. 1 team in the country (Conestoga) and lost (7-6 in overtime) and then went into a hostile environment at Gonzaga and lost (14-13). I thought that scheduling tough games before the MIAA season, would help us, but we came out flat."
Shriver acknowledged that Calvert Hall's superior hustle had something to do with the Lakers' problems.
"When we put the ball on the ground, they picked it up," he said. "And that's all about effort and energy."
Goals: CH - P. Kelly 3, S. Kelly 3, Ryan Brown 4, Black 1, Germershausen 1; BL – Chell 2, C. Rees 1, Heacock 1, Bruno 1.
Assists: CH - P. Kelly 1, S. Kelly 1; BL – Stanwick 2, Lynch 1.
Saves: CH - Pecunes 13; BL Knight 5.
Half: CH 5-4