Statistically, No. 3 Calvert Hall dominated in shots (22-7) and in corner kicks (13-1).
Yet after 90 minutes of soccer, the Cardinals (7-0-2, 4-0-1) walked off the soggy field at Mount St. Joseph with only a 2-2 tie.
With tomorrow's showdown looming against No. 2 Archbishop Curley, Cardinal coach Bill Karpovich didn't mince words about his team, which entered the game having outscored opponents, 30-8.
"You do this against Curley and we'll get blown off the field," Karpovich shouted at the players huddled around him afterward. "That's what happened to us last year."
Karpovich was referring to the Cardinals' 3-0 loss to Curley in last year's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association title game.
"We weren't psychologically into this game," said Ryan Smith, who scored both goals for the Cardinals.
Junior striker Jason Israel was the leader for the Gaels, who scored with six minutes left in the first half and with six left in the second.
It was the second tie against a highly touted squad -- the third draw overall -- for unranked Mount St. Joseph (2-1-3, 2-1-2), which went 0-0 with last year's 3A state runner-up, Centennial.
"We've got a lot of speed on the front line, so we played a 4-4-2 until [coach Barry Fitzpatrick] would call a 4-3-3 to get power up front," said Israel.
"Their defense was not as fast or as skilled as Centennial's, which is not to put them down. But we had smart passes to get around them for two assisted goals."
Israel brought the Gaels back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1, assisting Dan Strine and later getting a lead pass from Sean Endler.
Gaels keeper Greg Suekoff (nine saves) got help from stopper Kevin Fogarty, sweeper Jimmy James and fullbacks Mike Couser and Greg Bronico in withstanding Calvert Hall's 12-3 shots-on-goal advantage in the first half.
Late in the second half, Suekoff -- with a diving block that had him parallel to the ground -- deflected a close-range header by stopper Ryan Lachowicz. Moments later, he snuffed another sizzling volley, a 15-yarder from Dave Federline.