In all the years Calvert Hall senior Jacob Kelly has played lacrosse, dating to his recreation league days, he can’t recall being part of a scoring run that matched the one the No. 2 Cardinals enjoyed Wednesday.
In the team’s biggest game of the season, a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinal against No. 3 Loyola Blakefield, they poured in 13 straight goals.
Kelly found five different teammates for assists and scored twice on his own in the decisive stretch as Calvert Hall rolled to a 15-9 win over the Dons at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium.
The Cardinals (15-3) will look to win a second straight league championship Friday when they meet No. 4 Boys’ Latin — an 8-5 semifinal winner over No. 1 McDonogh on Tuesday — at 7:30 p.m.
The defending champions fell behind 2-0 before scoring 13 straight goals — the final one from sophomore midfielder Cole Herbert (two goals, two-assists) making it 13-2 with 4:29 left in the third quarter.
“[Thirteen] straight goals is nuts. Club, anything — I don’t think I’ve ever gone on a [13-goal] run,” Kelly said. “Going down 2-0...it’s not a shock, but you just know what you have to do when the ball comes down your end. I think everybody from the second-line middies, to our attack and even the defense clearing the ball up fast — we just had the ball for awhile. And once you have the ball for awhile, I’d say six of those goals just kind of blended together in my mind and it feels like you’re just clicking. And it’s fun.”
It was an emotional day for the Cardinals and their senior co-captain Pete Ilardo, whose father died in the morning after a lengthy illness. He decided he wanted to play and he played well with his teammates rallying with him.
Sophomore Daniel Kelly added four goals and one assist, Zach Green scored twice and Jack Sawyer contributed one goal and one assist. In all, nine Cardinals scored and ten provided a point.
Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly was pleased with his team’s execution of the game plan and how they responded to the trying time.
“I thought our kids played really hard and they had a lot to play for,” he said. “Our senior captain’s father passed away this morning and it’s been very emotional and these kids battled with everything they’ve been doing, and for Peter to come out here and play — it’s bigger than any lacrosse game.”
For the Dons, seniors Connor Hume (three goals), Ryan Dunn (two goals, one assist) and Alex Reid (two goals) closed out fine careers.
“I actually thought our start was pretty good,” Loyola Blakefield coach Ben Rubeor said. “We went up 2-0 and I though the energy was good, the boys looked sharp at the beginning. Frankly, I think we all were a little shell-shocked at giving up  in a row. We really hurt ourselves today. I didn’t think we cleared the ball well, didn’t think we handled their pressure very well offensively and they seemed to score every time they came down on offense.
“I think at the end of the day, that falls at the top. You’ve got to have the right plan, the right strategy and it’s our job as coaches to get these guys ready to play and we didn’t do a good enough job today. It’s a shame because I think we have a really good group of seniors and a group of seniors that I think if they look at their body of work, they’ve done a really good job and they should be proud of the way they’ve played this season.”
The loss also marked the end of Rubeor’s tenure as coach. Before the season, the 2004 alum announced he would be stepping down. He led the Dons to the semifinals in each of his three seasons after leading St. Mary’s to a league title in 2015. He is moving his family to Boston and said he would like to get into coaching there.
Boys’ Latin comes into Friday’s championship game against the Cardinals with an extra day of rest and playing its best stretch of lacrosse this season. The Lakers take a five-game winning streak into the game, including dominant play in their two playoff wins. After knocking out No. 6 St. Mary’s, 11-5, in Friday’s quarterfinals, they scored six unanswered goals against No. 1 McDonogh in the midst of an 8-5 win in Tuesday’s semifinal.
On April 20, Boys’ Latin beat Calvert Hall, 8-5.
Goals: LB — Hume 3, Dunn 2, Reid 2, Bateman, J. Koras; CH — D. Kelly 4, J. Kelly 2, Herbert 2, Green 2, Sawyer, G. Mitchell, Swain, Connelly, Mintzer. Assists: LB — J. Koras 2, Dunn, Elliott; CH — J. Kelly 5, Herbert 2, D. Kelly, Sawyer, Smith. Saves: LB — Lorber 5; CH — Darragh 4. Half: CH, 12-2