Calvert Hall, ranked No. 1 nationally by several lacrosse publications, looked out of sync down the stretch against the Pioneers' aggressive defense and its superb senior attackman, University of Maryland-bound Bradlee Lord, who scored a game-high five goals including the game-winner with 2:21 remaining.
Playing its first night lacrosse game at Russo Stadium, Calvert Hall scored the first four goals of the third quarter in just 2:08 to take that five-goal lead.
But after a rare faceoff win — Calvert Hall junior Stephen Kelly won 20 of 22 draws — gave Conestoga a chance to possess the ball, Lord fed junior attackman Tyler Brooke to cut it to 10-6.
"We called a timeout to stop the bleeding," Conestoga coach Brian Samson said. "That was a big goal we got to cut it to four."
When Lord scored again with 47 seconds to go in the third period, Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly knew a Pioneers rally was possible.
He was right.
"When it got to 10-8, I could feel the momentum shift," the coach said. "I thought we ran out of gas and they didn't. That's something we have to fix."
Calvert Hall opened the scoring on junior midfielder John Belz's left-handed shot early in the first quarter before Lord answered.
Stephen Kelly, who claimed 12 of 13 faceoffs in the first half, made it 2-1 for the Cardinals before senior attackman Connor Frisina knotted the score again for the Pioneers with 4:02 left in the first quarter.
Belz made it 3-2, and senior attackman Patrick Kelly tacked on another goal for hosts.
Conestoga answered with a goal by Brooke, but the Cardinals dded a goal by junior attackman Jordan Germershausen to take a 5-3 lead into the second period and then held a 6-5 edge at the half.
Goals (CH) Belz 2, S. Kelly 1, P Kelly 2, Germershausen, 3, R. Brown 2,
Assists (CH) Germershausen 1, Belz 1, R. Brown 1, Carroll 1, P. Kelly 2,
Goals (CS) Lord 5, Frisina 2, Brooke 2, Goins 1, Reitnour 1,
Assists (CS) McGregor 1, Frisina 2, Klunder 1, Brooke 1, Mezey 1, Lord 1, Ikeda 1
Saves: CH-10; CS-6
Half: CH 6-5