Calvert Hall prevailed in an epic showdown against Boys' Latin May 9 in one of the most highly anticipated lacrosse games of the 2017 season.
In the process, the Cardinals put themselves in the driver's seat to capture the top seed for the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association "A" conference playoffs.
Calvert Hall midfielder Brendan Curry (Syracuse) gave the Cardinals an 11-10 victory when he fired the ball past Lakers goalie Chris Brandau with 2:06 remaining in the second overtime. Calvert Hall (13-2 overall, 7-0 MIAA) remains atop the league standings, while the Lakers (12-4, 6-1) are still in position to take the second seed and earn a first-round bye.
"We have some good kids who compete," Calvert Hall head coach Bryan Kelly said. "I thought we kept our composure. They played a lot of zone. I thought we did a really good job on it early. Then, I think the nerves got in us, and we didn't move the ball fast. It was a good experience for us."
Jacob Kelly (North Carolina) continued his stellar season for the Cardinals by contributing three goals and four assists. He managed to spark the offense despite constant tight marking by the Lakers.
Calvert Hall was solid in transition but struggled at times trying to break down Boys' Latin's zone defense. The Cardinals finally found a seam when Jacob Kelly drew a pair of defenders and made a deft pass to Curry, who had made a cut toward the goal and scored the game-winner.
"We had a play ready that we ran a few times earlier, and it didn't really work out," Jacob Kelly said, "I knew Brendan was going to be there. I am glad he was able to can it and I could get it to him."
Calvert Hall trailed by a pair of goals at halftime, and the Lakers increased their lead to 10-7 with 11:46 remaining. From there, Calvert Hall made a spirited run and showed the poise that has made them the team to beat in the conference thus far.
The Cardinals have scored 11 or more goals in 14 of their 15 games this season.
"It's awesome," Curry said about the victory. "We battled so hard. We came out at halftime, and we just turned it up, which is what we needed to do against a great team."
Calvert Hall can clinch the regular-season title with a victory at home against St. Paul's May 12 before traveling to archrival Loyola Blakefield May 16. Boys' Latin can take the second seed with victories against Gilman and St. Paul's in its final two games.
McDonogh (13-3, 5-2) beat Loyola (6-7, 4-3) May 9 and can secure the third seed if it wins out. The Eagles own the tiebreaker over St. Paul's (14-3, 5-2) on the heels of a 12-7 victory May 2. Gilman and St. Mary's are competing for the final spot in the conference playoffs.
After the game against Boys' Latin, Bryan Kelly wasn't worried about playoff scenarios. He had already turned his focus to the next game against the Crusaders.
"We just have to grind it out," he said. "Our kids are mature enough and doing the right thing. There's a lot of lacrosse left. You're never as good as you look, you're never as bad as you look. You just have to keep competing."