Lacrosse, as Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly put it, is "a game of runs."
The Cardinals have plenty of scoring punch and are capable of going on runs at any time. Those runs aren't possible if they don't have the ball, though.
Enter midfielder Ryan Gutowski. With No. 2 Calvert Hall up a goal and No. 4 St. Mary's closing the gap, the junior won seven straight faceoffs, sparking a five-goal run and a 13-8 Cardinals win.
"That was the key," Kelly said of Gutowski's performance. "He really was huge in the second half for us. When they got the ball early on, they were getting it in the net, but we started to control the ball a little bit more on faceoffs, and that was definitely a critical point for us to come out with the W."
The win gives Calvert Hall a 2-0 start in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. Gutowski's play paced Calvert Hall (9-0) in faceoffs, giving it a 15-10 edge, and sparked a five-goal run from the end of the third quarter through the middle of the fourth quarter.
"I was able to, based on how they were playing, find the open spaces," Gutowski said. "It helped us a lot. We started winning them, getting a couple goals, and we really started building momentum off that."
Patrick Fanshaw led the Cardinals' attack with four goals and an assist. Jason McFadden had three goals and two asSists, and Sean Maguire had two goals and an assist.
Calvert Hall opened the game with three straight goals, with McFadden, Gutowski (one goal, one assist) and Tony Rossi (one goal, two assists) scoring. The Cardinals ended the second quarter with a three-goal run and led 8-4 at halftime.
St. Mary's (10-1, 1-1) countered with a run of its own, scoring three straight in the third quarter. Peter Athens (one goal, one assist) and Mark McNeill scored in a 15-second span with eight minutes left in the quarter that swung momentum in the Saints' favor.
But Gutowski later took over and Calvert Hall couldn't be stopped. Fanshaw's fourth goal with 5:14 left gave the Cardinals a comfortable 13-7 lead.
J.P. Dalton led St. Mary's with three goals, and Matt Bell added two goals and two assists.
Calvert Hall's difficult schedule doesn't get any easier. After beating No. 5 Boys' Latin on Friday and the Saints yesterday, it plays No. 6 McDonogh on Friday.
"It's tough, but it is what it is," Kelly email@example.com