The Calvert Hall lacrosse team has put its program in position to make history on Friday night.
With a dominant 18-4 win over No. 4 Loyola Blakefield in Tuesday’s Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference semifinals, the No. 1 Cardinals are one win away from becoming the first program to win three straight league championships.
In the start-to-finish romp at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium, Daniel Kelly finished with four goals and two assists, Connor Mitchell and Jack Sawyer each scored three times and 12 Cardinals registered at least one goal or assist with goalie Jackson Marshall making six saves in three quarters.
The Cardinals (16-1) will meet No. 2 St. Mary’s in the championship at 7 p.m. Friday at Towson University. St. Mary’s defeated No. 3 Boys’ Latin, 11-5, in Tuesday night’s other semifinal.
Calvert Hall, which will bring a 14-game winning streak into the title game, is 11-0 in league play with a winning margin of eight goals per game. Last year, the Cardinals joined Loyola Blakefield (2007-2008) as the only teams to win consecutive A crowns since the league began in 1995.
Junior midfielder Cole Herbert, who turned in another dominant two-way performance, thinks the Cardinals have the special team to make it three straight.
“It will be a great honor to, a great honor for Calvert Hall, and we’ll do our best to make that happen,” he said.
The Cardinals closed their perfect regular-season league with a 16-3 win over the Dons on May 7 and they picked up right where they left off Tuesday.
Before the Dons (10-7) had their first possession, the Cardinals already got goals from Grant Mitchell, Josh Webber and Connor Mitchell for a 3-0 advantage less than three minutes into the game.
The game’s highlight goal came midway through the first quarter when Herbert found Kelly, who sent a crisp pass across the goal mouth for Sawyer to tuck home. It provided a 5-1 lead, and the Cardinals took a 9-3 lead at the break and opened the second half with the first seven goals.
“The second time in a row playing them, it’s obviously a little tougher on the mind. But we beat them pretty bad the first time and we knew we had to do the same thing, and we did,” Herbert said. “We have great senior leadership and, honestly,the most impressive thing is our first two lines of middies could both be first line middies. So I think that’s what gives teams the most trouble.”
The only sour note for the Cardinals came in the second half when junior midfielder Ham McPartland went down with a concussion. Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly said he was taken to the hospital and won’t play Friday.
The Cardinals have a theme they take into each game and Kelly’s message was playing for each other. It showed on Tuesday.
“My theme was to play for love with one another,” he said. “And I just said they need to love one another and go out and play as a group that really cares for one another. And you can see that when Ham went down, they all cared very much and they care about their teammates.”
The Dons, who got two goals from Jack Koras, advanced to the semifinals with a come-from-behind 13-12 win at St. Paul’s in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Goals: LB – J. Koras 2, C. Koras, Motley; CH – D. Kelly 4, Sawyer 3, C. Mitchell 3, G. Mitchell 2, Sunderland 2, Webber, McPartland, Mintzer, Stewart. Assists: LB – J. Koras, Llewellyn, Breschi; CH – D. Kelly 2, Webber 2, Sunderland, Sawyer, Ewing, Herbert, Long. Saves: LB – Ellington 8, Emde 3; CH – Marshall 6, Downs 2. Half: CH, 9-3