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Catonsville boys lacrosse squad returns with experience if season unfolds

Catonsville freshman Brian Ruppel, third from left, shown scoring against Dulaney in the Comets' 7-6 playoff win last year, takes over at goalie this spring for the Comets if the season continues and schools reopen.
Catonsville freshman Brian Ruppel, third from left, shown scoring against Dulaney in the Comets' 7-6 playoff win last year, takes over at goalie this spring for the Comets if the season continues and schools reopen.(Steve Ruark / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Before schools were closed for two weeks because of the coronavirus, Catonsville boys lacrosse coach K.R. Schultz was enthusiastic about the upcoming season that was scheduled to open on March 20 at Hereford.

The Comets return lots of experienced players in all grades.

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The defense, a strength last year when the 7-9 Comets gave up an average of six goals a game, returns seniors Wyatt Gentner, Evan Rogers, Gunnar Cheuvront and John Senick, along with sophomore James Azbill.

Last year, Azbil played close defender, long-stick midfield and short-stick defensive middie.

Over the summer, Azbil, sophomore goalie Brian Ruppel and sophomore midfielder Chris Huppman were all selected to the play on the Command team for the Baltimore Boys during the Under Armour Lacrosse Weekend.

Players on the Command teams were rising freshmen and sophomores. They were the only ones from Baltimore County selected to the team.

Ruppel made it at his natural position of goalie, but he played midfield for the Comets last season and he was the fourth leading scorer.

“Ruppel is doing a good job of coming in and building that relationship with them on the defensive end, like becoming their goalie,” Schultz said. “It’s been a pretty good transition.”

Huppman led the team last year with 32 points.

Dulaney's Owen Campbell, left, defended Catonsville's Chris Huppman in the first half of a Class 4A North boys lacrosse second round regional playoff game last year. Huppman led the Comets with 32 points last season.
Dulaney's Owen Campbell, left, defended Catonsville's Chris Huppman in the first half of a Class 4A North boys lacrosse second round regional playoff game last year. Huppman led the Comets with 32 points last season.(Steve Ruark / For Baltimore Sun Media)

“We didn’t score a ton of goals last year,” said Schultz, noting the Comets averaged seven goals a game last season.

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That season included a 7-6 win over Dulaney in the regional playoffs and a 4-3 loss to Howard in the Class 4A North Region Section I finals.

In addition to Huppman and Ruppel, the Comets second-leading scorer sophomore Johnny Bolster (23 points) and third-leading scorer junior Jacob Diluca (13 points).

Diluca will also take faceoffs along with freshman Nate Wess. Diluca and Bolster will be in the midfield along with senior Grant Nyland.

“Grant Nyland really caught on end of year last year,” Schultz said. “We think he’s going to have a pretty good year for us, he’s coming off a pretty good wrestling season.”

Other key contributors on attack include senior Grant Evenson and sophomore Byron Newman, a transfer from St. Paul’s.

“Grant Evenson is playing really well for us,” Schultz said. “Evenson is really fast, so he could be playing more midfield for us.”

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Senior attackman Mike Wood and junior attackman Frank Manalansan were on varsity last season, but missed the team’s season opening scrimmage to Centennial.

The scrimmage was typical of any opening game.

“We had some guys who have a ton of varsity experience do some good things and bad things and we have guys who have no varsity experience do some good things and bad things, so it was good,” Schultz said. “We have a lot to learn from it. It was competitive, both of us got through the entire roster.”

Catonsville's Jacob DiLuca (1) celebrates with teammates after beating Dulaney 7-6 in a Class 4A North boys lacrosse second round regional playoff game.
Catonsville's Jacob DiLuca (1) celebrates with teammates after beating Dulaney 7-6 in a Class 4A North boys lacrosse second round regional playoff game.(Steve Ruark / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The rest of Catonsville’s roster includes junior attackmen Drew Abendschoen and Joshua Tartal, senior attackman Joshuah Blasy, junior midfielders Garrett Miller, Hasan Mosadi and Marc Gordon and sophomore midfielders James Andrew and Tyler Mikalaski and senior defenders Ethan Gentner, Logan Loza and Adam Williams and junior defenders Adrian Cummings and Jakob Wilkens.

Schultz liked the team’s attitude and confidence during the first scrimmage.

“The guys have high expectations of themselves which is pretty cool,” Schultz said. “This team cares a whole heck of a lot, they really want to be good and they are doing everything we ask of them. They’ve got a lot to learn and develop on, but so far we are making good strides.”

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