The Calvert Hall lacrosse team could have one of the most powerful high school attacks in the country, according to several coaches who have scouted the team.
So far, the Cardinals appear ready to meet those expectations.
Calvert Hall's offense is led by junior Jacob Kelly (North Carolina) and senior J.T. Bugliosi (Ohio State). But the Cardinals have several other weapons, including freshman Daniel Kelly (North Carolina) and junior Peter Ilardo (High Point), capable of taking on defensemen and scoring goals.
"They are really working well as a group, and they are very talented and gifted players," Calvert Hall head coach Bryan Kelly said. "The offense is playing very unselfish so far, and they are working hard. It is a talented group."
The attack is supported by a versatile midfield with several players headed to Division I programs, including junior Zach Green (Maryland) and seniors Brendan Curry (Syracuse) and Omari DeBerry (Ohio State). The second midfield is equally adept, with sophomores Connor Mitchell (Ohio State) and Jack Sawyer (Maryland) and freshman Cole Herbert (North Carolina).
While Calvert Hall should have little trouble scoring goals, the defense is also starting to show promise after a solid preseason. The Cardinals have a new starting goalie in junior Liam Darragh (Johns Hopkins). He is getting solid help on defense from juniors George Walsh (Ohio State) and Jack Connelly (Towson) and senior Daniel DiPeso (Roanoke).
The defense is also getting solid minutes from seniors P.J. Peters and Vince Maria (DeSales) and sophomores Parker Byrd (North Carolina) and Jake Snyder (Ohio State).
"I really like how our short-stick D-mids are playing, led by [junior] Connor Maher, [senior] Trey Smith and [senior] Colin Allen," Kelly said.
While the Cardinals are loaded with talent, they will still face several stern tests in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association "A" conference. The league is as deep as any in the country, and teams have to play their best each game
To get ready for league play, Kelly has put together a tough nonconference schedule against several nationally regarded teams, such as Conestoga (Pa.), Loyola Academy (Ill.) and Foothill-Santa Ana (Calif.).
Calvert Hall, which is ranked No. 13 in this week's Nike/USL High School Boys' National Top 25, opened the season with a pair of dominant victories against Lambert (Ga.), 12-6, and then knocked off Greensboro Day (N.C.), 17-1. However, the Cardinals dropped a 13-7 decision to Malvern Prep March 21, which is ranked No. 17 in the national poll.
"We always want to play great teams," Kelly said. "It helps you get ready for the season. You learn a lot about your team during these games. It also helps you figure out what you can run offensively and the areas you need to focus on defensively. Playing these high-caliber programs only make you better."