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Catonsville and Hereford boys soccer tie, 1-1, after double overtime

Catonsville senior Matt Lauer, center, and Hereford's Ralphie Kruger await a corner kick in the game that ended in a 1-1 tie. Lauer, one of two Comets honored on senior night, scored Catonsville's only goal.
Catonsville senior Matt Lauer, center, and Hereford's Ralphie Kruger await a corner kick in the game that ended in a 1-1 tie. Lauer, one of two Comets honored on senior night, scored Catonsville's only goal. (Photo by Craig Clary)

Catonsville’s Matt Lauer was one of two Comets honored on senior night, and the forward didn’t let his effort go unnoticed in the final home game of the regular season.

Lauer, a tri-captain along with senior Sean Campbell and junior Nick Sirosky, scored the Comets’ only goal in their 1-1 double-overtime tie Thursday with visiting Hereford.

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Lauer’s goal came with 14:13 left in the first half after he followed up a rebound shot by sophomore Bryan Barrientos.

Collin Lee scored with 21:28 left in the second half for the Bulls (1-3-1), and neither team could find the net the rest of the way.

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Catonsville (1-3-1) coach Brendan Kennedy praised the pair of seniors in their final night in the home spotlight.

“Our two seniors are two of the bedrocks of our team,” Kennedy said. “Lauer, our striker, is our leading goal scorer and Sean Campbell, our center mid, is our returning team MVP.”

Campbell will play at Lycoming College next season.

“They are two of our top players. We couldn’t ask for a better pair of seniors in terms of leadership, effort and game IQ,” Kennedy said. “So we do only have the two, but I wouldn’t want any other two than those two.”

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After Lauer’s first-half goal, the best Catonsville scoring chance came from Henry Ludovico with 3:44 left in the half, but his shot was corralled by Hereford sophomore goalie Spencer Baker.

At halftime, Bulls coach Adam Mizell had a message for his team, and Lee heard it loud and clear.

“Our coach during halftime really pressed us to get a goal and do whatever we can and spend all of our energy, and I just had to put it all our there,” said Lee, who took a throw-in to the end line, turned toward the goal and delivered an uncontested shot in the back of the net.

“I needed to be selfish, I needed to take it to the goal and help our team win and that’s what I did. But too bad we ran out of time. I felt like if it kept going we would have had the momentum to seal the deal.”

Mizell was relieved to see the equalizer because his team had only scored two goals in one previous game and none in the other three.

“Collin made a helluva play off the throw-in,” Mizzell said. “It was a fantastic play, an individual effort from the tough line. Their goalkeeper [Brian Ruppel] was mistake-free all night, which was a problem for us.”

Catonsville got stellar defense in front of Ruppel all evening from Mason Lober, Ashton O’Dell, Andrew James and Johnny Bolster, but they were matched in the second half by Hereford’s Mickey Briggs, Finn Griffin, Grayson Hammann and Garrett Bandolin.

After Hereford scored in the second half, Catonsville got an early shot by Sirasky that was rejected by a defender and another shot wide by Noah Gregory.

Hereford answered with a solid shot to the top corner by Quentin Kostick that was saved by Ruppel.

Catonsville’s Campbell had the only other shot during the rest of regulation. Both of Hereford’s shots on target, by Hamman and Chris Roebuck, were saved by Ruppel.

In the first overtime, a sweet combination from Sirasky to Barrientos led to a shot on goal by Bolster with 7:15 left.

Just 20 seconds later, Hereford goalie Baker came way out and deflected a shot by Lauer that was cleared before it crossed the line.

Lauer had another hard shot saved by Baker later in the overtime.

With 4:30 left in the second overtime, Campbell nearly ended it, but his shot was deflected again by Baker and cleared from the end line by Bandelin.

With 57 seconds left, Catonsville’s Kai Khual hit a free kick inches above the crossbar.

“Honestly, it’s kind of mind-blowing we didn’t win. Like we dominated possession and we had so many close opportunities and shots on target, but we didn’t get that one break our way, other than that rebound in the first half,” Kennedy said. “We have to be the best 1-3-1 team out there with a losing record, because we have and incredible amount of talent and as a unit, it’s just trying to establish consistency. That’s been our hardest problem. We’ve got an 80-minute game and honestly, we will play 75 outstanding minutes, but in those couple of minutes, it’s a capital chance for the other team.”

Hereford’s Mizell will take what he can get from his young team that has only five seniors.

“I felt like the second half, the wind and everything was pushing our way, so at halftime we said we are down 1-0, but the hard work is done,” he said.

Both teams have two more regular-season games left and one postseason game, with the top six seeds facing off.

For Lauer, playing one last home game with his teammates after the fall schedule was postponed because of COVID-19 is what he will cherish the most.

“I love every minute of it,” Lauer said. “I’m just going to miss them, man.”

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