Like a time bomb, the vaunted attack of top-ranked St. Paul's kept ticking away against upstart Calvert Hall in Brooklandville yesterday.
That is, until the Crusaders' all-time leading scorer, senior Tim Whiteley, detonated the three-goal explosion in the fourth quarter of the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference semifinal playoff game. Whiteley crammed three of his four goals into a two-minute span, and St. Paul's (16-0) pulled away from the No. 4 Cardinals (8-6) for a 12-6 victory and a chance at a second straight MSA A Conference crown.
The glamorous matchup between the No. 1 Crusaders, who capturedDivision I during the regular season, and No. 2 Boys' Latin, the Division II champion, is set for Friday at UMBC at 5 p.m.
St. Paul's had taken a 3-0 lead after one quarter before the Cardinals mounted the first of several rallies during the game, closing to within a goal, 4-3, as Tim Kowalewski scored on a feed from Sean Ryan a little more than three minutes into the second quarter.
Three times after that, St. Paul's built three-goal leads that the Cardinals sliced to two goals. Sophomore midfielder Greg Stark scored two of his three in this stretch for the Cardinals.
But with St. Paul's leading 8-6 early in the fourth quarter, the veteran attack of Whiteley, Michael Watson (three goals and an assist) and Rob Bouse (two goals and three assists) proved to be the difference.
"We didn't really get going on attack until the fourth quarter," said Tim Whiteley, who started the final spurt by converting a perfect feed from Watson for a 9-6 lead with just under seven minutes remaining.
Four minutes later, Bouse completed the four-goal run that moved the score to 12-6 and sent Crusaders fans into chants of "UMBC, UMBC."
For their careers, Whiteley, Bouse and Watson have combined for 266 goals and 202 assists, of which Whiteley has accounted for a school-record 232 points.