Unfinished business. That’s what the returning Catonsville boys lacrosse players have following last year’s state finalist season.
The Comets won their first 10 games before losing to Severna Park, 11-3, in the state title game.
Among the returners are goalie Brian Ruppel and defender James Azbill. Both are four-year varsity players and Ruppel will play at the University of Maryland next spring, Azbill will play at Towson University. Seniors Frank Manalansan III and Johnny Bolster also were on the varsity as freshmen.
Catonsville opens its 2022 campaign on March 23 at 5:15 p.m. at home against Westminster.
The Lansdowne boys lacrosse team opens is season on March 24 at Pikesville at 3:45 p.m. under a new coach.
For the girls, Catonsville and Western Tech returns with veteran coaches.
Here’s a look at what to expect from the local schools in the area during the 2022 lacrosse season.
Coach: KR Schultz, fifth season
Last season: 10-1, lost in state championship game to Severna Park
Top returning players: Seniors James Azbill (D, 19 caused turnovers, 30 ground balls), Johnny Bolster (M, 21 ground balls), Frank Manalansan III (A, 16 ground balls, 13 assists), Byron Newman (A, 14 goals, 18 assists) and Brian Ruppel (G, 70% save percentage, 3.3 goals against average).
Newcomers to watch: Senior Jay Rualo (A/M)
Coach’s outlook: “We have 15 guys in the class of 2022 and all play a significant role for us. They have been playing together for a long time. They know each other’s tendencies and challenge one another to continuously improve. We’re proud of their careers so far and are excited about their senior campaign. The coaches are really pleased with the group of guys we have from top to bottom. We have been impressed with how the freshmen have looked so far at practice and know we have skilled Juniors and sophomores that will be confident having gained a lot of experience last year. We love the effort our guys put into training in the offseason and are excited that the spring season is here. Baltimore County is once again loaded with talented teams and great coaches. We’re hoping to be able to compete at a high level in every county game.”
Coaches: Raul Gordon, first season
Last season: 5-2, lost in 2A North regional championship game
Top returning players: Seniors Trevor Ellis (A), Stevie Geisler (A) and Connor Kolhaus (D); junior Dajuan Jones (D); sophomores Jake Howard (LSM/SSM), Justin Myers (A) and Bryson Brendell (DM).
Newcomers to watch: Seniors Edwardo Sanchez (FO/M) and Christian Bolt (A/M).
Coach’s outlook: “We have a solid core and believe the players we have added this year will help round out our team nicely. I believe we will be competitive and should have a winning record at the end of the season. I believe that our hard work will carry us through the season and help us through the tough games. I believe we will compete for the conference title and should show well in the county.”
Coach: Cantey Bailey, eighth season
Last season: 3-5
Top returning players: Seniors Adele Jones (A) and Marisa Massimini (M); sophomore Casey Fisher (M)
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Newcomers to watch: Sophomore Abby Tartle (A); freshman Maggie Kubofcik.
Coach’s outlook: “Last year was definitely a building year for us. We are hoping that we now have a lot of experience. We are still very young, but returning 10 starters should help us when games get tough. I think as usual, Towson, Hereford, Dulaney are the toughest teams in the county. Franklin and Sparrows Point are always teams that you hate playing because they are physical and talented. Hopefully it will be a great year.”
Coach: Drew Daudelin, 19th season
Last season: 7-0 in county pod, lost to Sparrows Point in regional playoff.
Top returning players: Senior Macy Simons (G, 51 saves on 72 shots); junior Blake Tutman (M, 15 goals, 5 assists, 24 ground balls); sophomore Ameerah Austin (M, 18 goals, 32 draw controls).
Newcomers to watch: Nichole Olid (D/M) and Danielle Weeks (M/A).
Coach’s outlook: “Great, positive group of athletes. Like many teams, we are working to rebuild the program a little bit after the cancellation of the 2020 season, and the pandemic-altered 2021 season. There will be areas of relative weakness, but the defense and goalkeeper positions look to be strong, with talented players across the defense. We are playing in Baltimore County’s Division “B” the (second tier) in a relatively competitive group. Franklin looks to be the class of the division, but it could be wide-open after that.