After a heart-breaking 8-7 loss to Dulaney in triple overtime on April 17, the Catonsville boys lacrosse team bounced back with its most complete effort of the season and they rolled to a 12-4 victory over visiting Franklin (1-8) on Wednesday night.
Catonsville senior Luke Palmisano had three goals and five assists and Sam Jaudon won 16 of 18 faceoffs to lead the Comets (4-5).
“We finally played four quarters of good lacrosse today for the first time this year and hopefully we can keep going with that blueprint for the rest of the season,” Catonsville coach Bucky Belford said.
Franklin freshman Tyler Garfinkel scored the first goal 29 seconds into the game, but the Comets tied it 1-1 on a bounce shot by Jaiden Ruppert with 6:45 left in the first quarter.
With 3:02 left in the first quarter, Franklin’s Timmy Jones scored, giving the Indians a 2-1 advantage.
At that point, the Indians had outshot the Comets 5-4.
Catonsville outshot Franklin 29-14 the rest of the way and controlled the time of possession.
“We’ve been working hard on our shooting on offense and having more patience on offense,” Belford said. “We’ve been moving the ball around, sharing it and waiting for the opportunity to go and it looked good today.”
After Jaudon won his fourth straight faceoff, Palmisano scored from 15 yards out on an extra-man goal with 39 seconds left in the first quarter and the Comets were tied 2-2.
Bryce Spinnato’s goal with 18.6 seconds left in the quarter made it 3-2 and the Comets never trailed again.
Defensively, in the first half, Toby Wack had two forced turnovers, ground balls and clears that disrupted the Franklin attack.
“Those are momentum plays,” Belford said. “You can demoralize an offense when you can get out on them and take the ball away and transition.”
The Comets also gained momentum by frequent Franklin penalties.
Catonsville dominated the second quarter, outscoring Franklin, 4-1, and taking a 7-3 lead into halftime
The key was Jaudon winning 10 of the first 11 faceoffs.
“You just got to fight for it,” Jaudon said. “It’s all out heart and you’ve just got to get the ground ball and if you don’t get it you’ve got to fight back for it. I’m a pretty big kid so I use whatever I can.”
At 5-feet, 10 inches, 210 pounds, Jaudon is stronger than most of his faceoff opponents and Franklin was missing its starting faceoff specialist Reid Jones, who missed the game because of a hand injury.
Jaudon used a variety of methods to gain an advantage.
Sometimes he turned his back on his foe and boxed him out to gain an advantage.
On occasion, he also kicked the ball into an open area and tracked it down.
“That’s just play-based,” said Jaudon, who added two goals and two assists. “If it’s stuck at my feet I will get it out. I’ll do whatever I can just to get it out. I help my team out however I can.”
Palmisano also showed off his offensive flexibility.
He gave the Comets a 4-2 lead when he came from behind the net and scored after a reverse pivot.
Jaudon assisted John Perry for a 5-2 lead and Palmisano assisted Jaudon, making it 6-2 with 7:02 left in the first half.
Franklin’s first shot of the second quarter against the stingy defense of Wack, Aaron Marshall and Jack Lowe didn’t come until 4:26 left in the first half.
“We’ve been working on our zone defense a lot lately and it seems to be working,” Belford said. “They’ve adjusted and they’ve finally settled into their roles.”
Franklin’s Sawyer Frantz scored the Indians’ only goal of the second quarter with 3:42 left in the first half.
Catonsville seized back the momentum on an extra-man goal by Andrew ‘Dew’ Bateman off a Palmisano assist with 2:44 left in the half, making it 7-3.
“Andrew Bateman has probably been our best player the last four games,” Belford said. “He’s been playing out of his mind and it’s been great. He’s a senior, he hustles and he’s the smallest guy of the field, but he’s got one of the biggest hearts and I love coaching him.”
Catonsville started the second half with a two-man advantage and it only took them 13 seconds to gain an 8-3 advantage after an assist from Palmisano to Jaudon.
After another Franklin penalty, Jaudon assisted Palmisano and he deposited his third goal with 6:13 remaining in the third quarter.
Catonsville got another two-man up advantage and Palmisano assisted Bateman and the lead swelled to 10-3.
Belford praised the play of Palmisano who had a season-high eight points.
"Luke is doing everything for us,” Belford said. “He’s doing attack, he’s doing midfield, I have him all over the place. He’s a great athlete, he’s a great player and when he is on his ‘A’ game, he’s one of the best players in Baltimore County.”
Following another Franklin penalty, Palmisano assisted Spinnato and the lead was 11-3 with 2:28 left in the quarter.
“We couldn’t get back to playing six on six,” Franklin coach Joe Madigan said. “In the second half, they didn’t score a goal six on six. Mental toughness is a huge thing and we are very young and that [penalties] has hurt us before.”
“Today was probably the best we’ve played offensively, especially on man up.” Palmisano said.“We kind of realized how they rotated defensively. It was the best we’ve recognized it all year and we shot really well for a change.”
Garfinkel scored Franklin’s only goal of the fourth quarter and Will Bredeck scored the only Comets tally.
The win was especially pleasing for Belford because of the way the season ended last year.
“We beat them in the regular season last year and they eliminated us in the playoffs, but this year is a new year,” Belford said. “We are growing as a team and three of our five losses are by one and two goals. We are right there with every team and as long as we keep working hard, hopefully, as the season goes further, we will be a tough out in the playoffs.”