Going into the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference playoffs, Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly said a team has to be playing great lacrosse and also have some breaks go its way to claim one of the country's most prized championships.
In Friday's title game against No. 2 Loyola, his No. 1 Cardinals skipped the good fortune and were just plain great.
Taking charge with a precise second quarter that finished with four unanswered goals, the Cardinals proved better in every facet in earning a 17-3 win over the Dons in front of an announced 5,684 Johnny Unitas Stadium.
In capturing the program's sixth championship (the first four came in the Maryland Scholastic Association), the Cardinals (16-2) got a two-goal, two-assist performance from All-Metro senior attackman Patrick Kelly, four goals each from Ryan Brown and Carter Brown and a 10-save effort from goalie Dimitri Pecunes. Jordan Germershausen also contributed three goals and an assist.
"It's just a great feeling to see everybody come out and play their best in the championship game to beat a really good Loyola team," senior attackman Ryan Brown said. "It's overwhelming joy that we were finally able to come together and win this championship and do it by a big margin."
After falling to Gilman, 13-8, in last year's title game, the Cardinals were on a season-long mission to take the final step to win their first crown since 2003.
Tied at one after the first quarter, the Cardinals made their mark in the second quarter and didn't waste any time doing it.
After the Dons (16-4) won all three faceoffs in the first quarter, Calvert Hall junior Stephen Kelly won the opening draw in the second and charged forward. From there, it took two passes and six seconds for the Cardinals to take a 2-1 lead — Stephen Kelly to John Belz to Patrick Kelly, who buried a shot from the right side.
The Cardinals got a second goal from Patrick Kelly, two from Jordan Germershausen and three big saves from Pecunes for a 5-1 halftime lead.
One minute into the third quarter, Carter Brown took a feed from Patrick Kelly and finished to increase the lead to 6-1. Then, after T.J. Neubauer scored Loyola's second goal to end a 25-minute drought, the Cardinals finished out the season on a goal-scoring splurge.
The 14-goal margin was the largest in MIAA championship game history (the conference formed in 1996).
"I thought the biggest aspect for us was our mental preparation," Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly said. "I thought our kids had been mentally prepared all year. It's funny, I was talking to a friend because I was really anxious today, and he just said to embrace it and enjoy it. And that's what I did. I really didn't have to do anything and the kids just made it happen."
After eliminating defending champion Gilman, 13-7, in the semifinals, the Dons (16-4) weren't able to match the Cardinals skill and intensity Friday.
"I couldn't be more proud of our kids and the effort they've given us all season long, especially our seniors who did a fantastic job," Loyola coach Jack Crawford said. "It's not the way they wanted to end the season, obviously, but we wouldn't have been there if it wasn't for our seniors."
Sts. Peter & Paul 14, Friends 13: The Sabers from Easton built a 5-1 advantage after the first quarter, and then fended off a late rally from the defending champion Quakers to claim their first championship.
Trailing 14-10 with 1:09 left, Friends scored three straight goals but ran out of time with the final tally coming with only four seconds left.
Paul Orson led Friends (12-4) with three goals and one assist, and Dave Madgeburger added three goals. Casey Grieves scored six goals for the Sabers (13-4).
The teams split two games during the regular season, the Quakers winning the last meeting, 12-11, on May 10.
Gerstell Academy 12, St. John's Prep 4: In their first year of varsity play, the Falcons saved their season's best for last, outscoring St. John's, 7-1, in the fourth quarter to turn a close game into a comfortable win.
Steven Snyder led the way with four goals and two assists, and Dylan Woods added three goals as the Falcons closed out the season 16-3. Eric Jacobs (two goals, two assists) and Ben Higgins (two goals, one assist) also played a big role in the win with goalie Ben Chase turning back 12 shots. Gerstell reached the title game by knocking off three-time defending league champion Lutheran, 13-10, in Tuesday's semifinals.
(at Towson University)
Goals: L – Dalton, Neubauer, Klise ;
CH – C. Brown 4, P. Kelly 2 , Germershausen 3, McBrien, R. Brown 4, Carotenuto 2, Heneberry.
Assists: L – Klise, Germershausen, McNamara;
CH – S. Kelly 2, Belz, P. Kelly 3, Bartell.
Saves: L – Thomas 7;
CH – Pecunes 10.
Half: . CH, 5-1
St. Peters & Paul 14, Friends 13
Goals: SPP — Grieves 6, Sovero 4, Yoviene 2, Zentgraf, McLaughlin;
F — Orson 3, Sweet, Magdeburger 3, Batho, Warren 2, Charlier 2, Glotzbach.
Assists: SPP — Lacaze 3, G. D'Albora 4, A. Albora 2, McLaughlin;
F — Glotzbach 2, Sweet, Batho, Orson, Finn.
Saves: SPP — Sturmer 10;
F — Whitlow 6.
Half: SPP, 8-4
Gerstell Academy 12, St. John's Prep 4
Goals: SJ — Gauvin 2, Snyder, Filyo;
G — Snyder 4, Woods 3, Jacobs 2, Higgins 2, Page 1.
Assists: SJ — Snyder 2;
G — Jacobs 2, Snyder 2, Tabak 2, Higgins.
Saves: SJ — Coulehan 9;
G — Chase 12.
Half: G, 4-3