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Catonsville scores early and often in shutout victory over Perry Hall in boys lacrosse opener

Catonsville coach KR Shultz talks with senior Jacob Diluca (1) and the rest of the Comets after their 21-0 victory over Perry Hall.
Catonsville coach KR Shultz talks with senior Jacob Diluca (1) and the rest of the Comets after their 21-0 victory over Perry Hall. (Photo by Craig Clary)

The entire Catonsville boys lacrosse squad couldn’t wait to get on the field for the first time in two years. The Comets didn’t hold back, scoring early and often and playing flawless defense in a dominant 21-0 victory over Perry Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

“We were just so excited to get out here honestly, all our practice we put in, our offense worked as a unit and we really played like a team and got the ball swinging and found the open guy,” said junior Byron Newman, who scored the first goal 26 seconds into the game.

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He followed with two of his game-high five assists as the lead jumped to 3-0 with 6:48 left in the first quarter on goals by junior Johnny Bolster (two goals) and senior Jacob Diluca (one goal).

Bolster and Diluca and some other juniors and seniors had added incentive to play well against Perry Hall. Two years ago, they were on the same field for senior night when the Gators defeated the Comets, 6-5.

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“I told the guys, two years ago we came in here on their senior night and beat them,” Perry Hall coach Phil Rossetti said. “I said, ‘These guys will be ready to play you and you need to be prepared for that.’”

The Comets made sure the Gators never got prepared with a precise offense that featured 11 goal scorers.

Frank Manalansan, Tyler Mikalaski, Noah Kennedy and Joshua Tartal had three goals each. Manalansan added two assists and Mikalaski had one.

Drew Abendschoen had two goals and Marc Gordon, Jonas Hipszer and Garrett Miller joined Diluca and Newman with a goal each. Hipszer added a pair of assists.

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Catonsville led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter and 14-0 after Tartal’s goal with 21 seconds left in the first half.

“Playing team offense is what did it,” Newman said. “We are so hyped. We love playing with each other. It was a great time today.”

Catonsville coach KR Schultz was equally pleased with the unselfishness of his offense.

“That’s the goal, to move the ball better,” he said. “We shared it pretty well. We liked it today. It was fun to get back out here.”

Schultz also got an outstanding effort on faceoffs from sophomore Nate Wess, who won 10 of 14 in the first half and 14 of 21 overall.

The starting defense of James Azbill (one assist), James Krug and John Gorski was rarely tested, and when the ball was in their zone, they forced turnovers.

“When you are playing a team like Catonsville you can’t turn the ball over and we did today,” Rossetti said.

Catonsville's Eric Kaplan prepares to make a move as Perry Hall's Cameron Levin defends in the Comets' 21-0 victory.
Catonsville's Eric Kaplan prepares to make a move as Perry Hall's Cameron Levin defends in the Comets' 21-0 victory. (Photo by Craig Clary)

“We were trying to be just fundamentally sound on D, obviously we wanted to let Azbill pressure a little bit,” Schultz said. “We were pleased with our rides and clears and it was nice.”

Azbill will play at Towson University in 2023 and junior goalie Brian Ruppel will play at the University of Maryland the same year.

Ruppel didn’t see a shot in the first half and his first of two saves came 14 seconds into the second half when Noah Heitner won a faceoff and barreled down the middle for a one-on-one shot that Ruppel gobbled up.

“It was a heck of a save,” Schultz said. “He was a good player and we knew coming in Noah was a big kid who could get a shot, so the second that happened in the second half I was like, ‘Oh man that didn’t happen,’ but Brian bailed us out which was nice.”

Sophomore reserve goalie Gabe Wallman played the fourth quarter and made four saves.

Schultz knew his team would be fired up for the Gators, especially the players who were there two years ago.

“Perry Hall is always well-coached,” Schultz said. “I knew they didn’t have a ton of numbers, but Phil always does an incredible job with them and our guys know that.”

Several veteran players made sure with workouts last fall that they would be ready if they had a spring season.

“I got to get with them in April and it’s like, all right, cool, you guys have put in the work, you guys have done the extra,” Schultz said. “We didn’t get to do our team concepts or anything, but their individual development of those fundamental skills seem to be pretty decent.”

Perry Hall’s Rossetti hopes his squad learns and doesn’t carry the lopsided loss with them.

“We have a lot of young guys that missed a year of JV last year, so we are throwing them into the fire, so coming in as juniors I’m proud of the way they handled it, this wasn’t easy,” he said. “I told the guys, ‘You have to have a short memory and we need to forget about it and move on to Eastern Tech.’”

Perry Hall hosts Eastern Tech on Thursday while the Comets host Sparrows Point.

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