Squandered opportunities cost Calvert Hall the final Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference playoff spot, as St. Paul's shrugged off a rash of illnesses to play more composed lacrosse and defeat the host Cardinals, 9-4, in yesterday's league finale for both teams.
The victory gave fifth-ranked St. Paul's (10-4, 6-4) the second playoff berth in Division II and advanced the Crusaders to the finals for the first time since 1982, when the school won its record 21st MSA championship.
St. Paul's will play Tuesday at No. 3 Loyola.
No. 4 Calvert Hall finished at 10-5 -- 5-5 after beginning the season with high hopes.
"It's nice to be back in the playoffs," said St. Paul's coach Mitch Whiteley. "I'm sure that Boys' Latin, Loyola and St. Mary's figure as the favorites, but right now we're playing as well as anybody. We have a shot."
Yesterday, the Crusaders did not look like a team that started three ailing players. Mike Watson, Tim Whiteley and Tom Keratzes -- each of whom had temperatures of 100 or higher -- all played major roles in their team's biggest win in nine years.