Congratulations to the Calvert Hall Cardinals, who wrapped up their 8th consecutive M.I.A.A. water polo championship today, beating Loyola 8-7 in a nail-biter. The Dons, who probably touted the most talented team in their program’s history, look to get another shot at the Cardinals next weekend, as both are favored to meet up in the Eastern Prep School championship game.
This was the first season that the state championships have been held at the Naval Academy. I was a bit worried that the fan turnout would not be as good as in previous years because the M.I.A.A. Final Four was held outside of Towson. I was right; the crowd as about half of its normal size for the championship game, but it was certainly testing MacDonough Hall’s capacity limit as far as the fire marshal is concerned. As you can see from the following video, it was standing room only.
The Dons gave CHC quite a scare, and a bit of deja vu, as they jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and held a 5-3 lead at halftime. Earlier this week, Loyola beat Calvert Hall for the first time in six years after scoring 3 goals in the first 4 minutes of competition, a position from which Calvert Hall could not recover.
But in the second half, Calvert Hall got back to playing physical Cardinal water polo and clamped down on defense, allowing only 2 second half goals. Ben Brown led Calvert Hall with 4 goals in the victory.
This was the sixth year in a row that the Cardinals and Dons have met in the championship game. To earn their respective spots, Calvert Hall dominated Gilman 19-8 while Loyola beat Mt. St. Joe 11-5 in the first round of the Final Four.
In the JV championship, Calvert Hall ousted the Dons 12-8 to earn their 2nd JV title in 3 years.