Calvert Hall head coach Bryan Kelly was not the least bit surprised his son, Daniel Kelly, had a breakout game against top-ranked McDonogh April 21.
The freshman scored five goals and showed the poise of a seasoned upperclassman during Calvert Hall's 11-9 victory, snapping a five-game losing streak against the Eagles. As McDonogh focused on shutting down attackmen Jacob Kelly (North Carolina) and JT Bugliosi (Ohio State), Daniel Kelly was not afraid to take advantage of the extra space and put his shots on goal.
"I told my wife the day before the game that I felt that Daniel would have a big game," Bryan Kelly said. "I felt that they would really focus on Jacob and that would open things up for him as well as JT on the attack. If you key on anyone of our attackman, it can allow things to open up for the other two. I was not surprised that Daniel rose to the occasion. He is a very gifted and coachable player, and he loves the big game."
As the head coach's son, Daniel Kelly has been around the Calvert Hall lacrosse program most of his life. As a result, he was comfortable on the big stage against McDonogh, which is the defending conference champion and the nation's No. 1 team in several preseason polls.
"God has gifted Daniel with great hands, and he is a very good shooter and knows how to get open," Bryan Kelly said. "I do think that him being around the program and watching so many great players come through Calvert Hall, he has learned a lot. Daniel has a very good lacrosse IQ."
In addition to Daniel Kelly, his brother Jacob Kelly and Bugliosi, the Cardinals are getting contributions from players up and down their roster. Bryan Kelly said the team's leadership has played a vital part in bringing that talent together and for the early-season success.
With victories against McDonogh and Archbishop Spalding April 25, Calvert Hall improved to 3-0 in the conference and 9-2 overall.
Calvert Hall has received a solid performance from junior goalie Liam Darragh, who has committed to Johns Hopkins. The first-year starter had 12 saves against McDonogh, including several from point-blank range.
"Liam is working hard every day," Bryan Kelly said. "He has improved throughout the season. He has raised his game throughout the year, and that his been big for us. It is always an adjustment to being a first-time starter, and Liam is getting more comfortable each and every game."
The schedule does not get any easier for Calvert Hall, with another key matchup against St. Mary's April 28. The Saints picked up a big 10-9 overtime win against St. Paul's in the conference opener before falling to Boys' Latin April 25.