Since midway in the second half yesterday, unbeaten Loyola had held a 2-0 lead, and it didn't appear as if Calvert Hall would score if the rivals played until Tuesday.
But Loyola coach Don Kraft knew better. When Mike Joseph scored for the Cardinals, cutting their deficit in half with nearly 10 minutes remaining, the coach and the Dons' bench came alive with, "Come on, fellas, hang on."
"We did get a little anxious there when they were pressing us," said Kraft, "but I didn't think they could get a second goal against us."
Which proved to be the case as host Loyola did hang on, 2-1, to run its record to 4-0-1. Calvert Hall dropped to 0-2.
"Actually, this was like most of the games in our league [the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference]: tough and hard fought right to the end. Seems like we always end up with three or four teams in the top 10," said Kraft.
Loyola started the week ranked No. 11 but took out No. 3 McDonogh Wednesday, 3-0, before dumping No. 10 Calvert Hall.
"It has been awhile since Loyola had such a good week in soccer," the coach said.
With a boisterous crowd looking on and trying to keep their feet dry on the marshy Blakefield pitch, the Dons started out as if this one would be over quickly.
"We started a little slowly," Calvert Hall coach Andy Moore noted, the home team blowing three solid opportunities to get on the scoreboard quickly. "Then we started to play our game."
Which is to attack.
For the longest while, however, the Cardinals found their plans being disrupted, as Loyola back-liners Jim DiPino, John Alecci, Chase Franklin and Mike Lookingland continually broke up forward thrusts.
"These four play as well as a team as anyone around," said Kraft, "and it all has worked well so far, because I consider Shawn Huth as one of the two best goalies in the Baltimore area.
"We have good depth. Our defense works well together. We've got a freshman, Kevin Messedra, who scored two goals in a game for the second time today. Wow, we're set in goal, and we're 4-0-1 and have given up just one goal.
"But there's a reason teams started out rated higher than us. That's how good the competition is in the MIAA. And we probably haven't faced the best yet, [Archbishop] Curley."
Messedra's first goal came on a rebound effort midway in the first half, which ended with Loyola on top, 1-0. Lookingland assisted on that one, and DiPino assisted on the freshman's second of the game and fifth of the season about 20 minutes into the second half.
Loyola backers were enjoying themselves immensely until Joseph put the fear of a 2-2 tie into them with lots of time remaining. Not one person left the premises until the final whistle sounded.