By the end of the first half of Catonsville’s 3-0 victory over Towson, ‘Lucky number 7’ seemed like a thing of the past.
Jose Moran, an All-Metro and All-County selection last year, wore No. 7 for the Comets when he scored 16 goals and had five assists to lead the 11-3 Comets to the Baltimore County championship.
But, in the Comets’ opener, Moran scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 triumph over Loch Raven, wearing a new number — No. 10.
So when Catonsville hosted Mount St. Joseph in the Comet Invitational Tournament on Sept. 8, he switched jerseys with Chris Lutz, who wore No. 7 against Loch Raven.
Nobody scored in the 1-0 loss to Mount St. Joe, but in the second game of the tournament, Lutz scored both goals in a 2-0 victory over Dundalk, wearing No. 10.
Against Towson, Lutz scored two goals in the first half — again wearing No. 10.
Moran finally got on board wearing his old No. 7 in the second half.
“We just swapped jerseys and I’m taking all the goals from him,” Lutz said.
“I wanted No. 7 because it was my lucky number from last year,” Moran said. “I just wanted to wear that number so that is why we switched.”
Towson coach Randy Dase didn’t have to look at the numbers to know who Moran was and his Generals defended him with full-time marks from Noah St. John and Jacob Simmons in the first half.
Along with defenders Garrett Gischel, Sam Zagurski, Aidan Miller and Quinn Lykens, they held Moran scoreless for the first 40 minutes.
But Lutz took advantage with 28:12 left in the first half when he beat three defenders for the first goal.
“It was bouncing around and no one was playing the ball so I decided to take a swing and I missed the first time, but then it made me want to take another and I put it in the top left,” Lutz said.
Twenty minutes later, he scored off a perfect cross from Tim Burk.
“I tried to keep it low and keep it on target and I almost didn’t,” said Lutz, who knew Moran’s mark would open things up for him and starting midfielders Burk, Daniel Kim and Tom Reymann. “I was trying to either spread out the defense or, if they are not covering me, make a play.”
Dase knew slowing down Moran was key for his Generals (2-3).
“We marked him the whole time, but after the half, we loosened up because we were down two and then he scored the third goal,” Dase said. “We decided let’s tighten up a little bit more. You have to mark him because he is very dangerous, but they are all very skilled.”
Moran got his goal when junior reserve Emmanuel Amihere made a nifty lead pass over midfield and Moran outran the defender and beat goalie Will Huckenpoehler with a low left-footed shot.
Moran had another similar opportunity set up by freshman Jake Parrott, but Huckenpoehler made a great save with his left foot.
Moran was happy to see the bench players produce when called upon by coach Vic Vega.
“The players that are on the bench are ready to play once they get on the field and they are ready to do their work,” Moran said.
Moran also praised the defense, led by All-County goalie Kevin Sheppard, who was supported by starting defenders Andrew Carlson, Benjamin Croom, Sam Khan and Will Johnson.
Towson senior Kelton Lynch, who scored seven of Towson’s eight goals this season, had the best opportunity early in the game, but his shot was corralled by Sheppard.
“We didn’t have any offensive punch except for one shot by Lynch in the first minute and that was it,” Dase said. “They are a very strong team. They are one of the better teams in the Metro area.”