Just when visiting Catonsville High thought it was going to get back in its boys lacrosse game against Mount St. Joseph, a pipe and sophomore attackman got in the way.
Catonsville’s Cody Scott had a shot that hit the pipe with 2:50 left until halftime and the Comets (2-3) trailing 4-2.
In the final minute of the first half, St. Joe sophomore attacker Brett Altenburg scored two goals just six seconds apart and the Gaels took a 6-2 halftime lead that led to a 12-5 victory on Friday evening.
It was one of three first-half goals by Altenburg.
“He made some finishes I haven’t seen before,” Mount St. Joe coach Dave Slafkosky said. “Brett did a nice job. He made a move earlier where he hitched and came up.”
NIck Willertz added three goals for the winners, who improved to 8-3 overall.
Bryan Costabile and Jimmy Lucas added a pair of goals and Michael LeClair had a goal and two assists for the Gaels.
Jimmy Lucas and Johnny Norton had solo tallies for the Gaels and Shawn Carter had a pair of assists.
The Gaels won 12 of 19 faceoffs with Matt Gigliotti doing the bulk of the work.
“We won some faceoffs and that would help us if we could keep doing that,” Slafkosky said.
Gigliotti’s biggest win came with 43 seconds left until intermission when he scooped and darted straight to the crease before feeding Altenburg on the doorstep.
It was one of several goals from in tight that drew the ire of Catonsville coach Aaron Stubbs.
“They didn’t miss and it’s really hard when you are giving up shots off the crease,” Stubbs said.
The Comets trailed 3-0 before longstick defensive midfielder Nicholas Ellsworth went coast to coast for the first score with 4:57 left in the first half.
The Gaels made it 4-1 before the end of the first quarter on Altenburg’s first goal off a LeClair assist.
Mount St. Joe dominated time of possession in the first quarter, which is something Slafkosky hopes to see more often.
“If we are going to win any games in the next month against MIAA teams, we better hold the ball well and know we are not going to get a lot of possessions,” Slafkosky said.
Comet sophomore Sean Hurd won three of four faceoffs in the second period to help get the Comets more time with the ball.
Catonsville cut the lead to 4-2 when Tyler Westphal fed Dillon Hannah (3 goals) with 6:45 left until halftime.
They could have made a bigger dent in the scoreboard, but they committed seven turnovers in the second period.
“We had seven turnovers in a quarter,” Stubbs said. “You hang onto the ball and it could have gone either way.”
Stubbs praised the play of goalie David Ossing (13 saves) and defender John Noppenberger, who did a solid job on leading scorer LeClair.
“John Noppenberger played excellent locking off their best player and I thought our goalie player really well.”
But the Comets couldn’t penetrate the Gael defense, led by Jack Cook, Kevin Breitenother and Kyle Costabile and anchored by Catonsville resident and goalie Colin Reymann.
The Gaels scored the first four goals of the second half and coasted to victory.
Catonsville’s third goal came when Ellsworth’s shot deflected off the stick of Hannah into the goal.
Westphal and Drew Carlson added the final Comet tallies.
“We’ve got to be more physical,” Stubbs said. “We had a good game plan, but we just didn’t stick to it.”
Gael coach Slafkosky was just happy to get through the game unscathed.
“We are very young and very injured,” Slafkosky said.