Dulaney’s Natalie Crowley scored a game-high five goals and senior goalie Ella Puente made five of her eight saves in the second half as the visiting Lions (3-7) exploded in the final 25 minutes to break open a close game in an 18-11 victory at host Catonsville (4-6) on the Comets’ senior night.
After the Comets honored their seniors, Audrey Adelsberger, Kassidy Boehl, Malee Eagle, Anna Johnston, Adele Jones, Marisa Massimini, Milena Stephen and Kathleen Stubbs, it was junior Crowley who came out ready to play.
She scored the first two goals in the first five minutes and admitted she got her energy on the bus ride from Timonium.
“Definitely, we have a pregame ritual, we love singing on the bus,” she said. “We’ve been working extremely hard the past couple of weeks and we were very prepared to come into this game.”
The Lions stretched the lead to 4-0 on goals by Mackenzie Sims and Elena Emde. Meghan Haskins assisted Sims and Mia Cooper assisted Emde.
The Comets didn’t take their first shot until 16:34 left in the first half when Massimini’s shot was saved by Puente.
Catonsville’s second shot was a goal by Jones with 16:12 left in the first half.
It was the first of four straight goals for the Comets as Lily Antonelli, Maggie Kubofcik and Casey Fisher scored to tie the game at 4. Fisher’s tying tally with 11:46 left in the half was the third straight free-position goal for the Comets.
The Lions responded with goals by Cooper and Crowley, but Catonsville’s Jones answered, making it 7-5. Dulaney built its second four-goal lead of the first half, 9-5, on tallies by Heidi Schmidt and Crowley.
The Comets rallied, again, as Fisher, Jones and Massimini scored.
Schmidt’s assist to Haskins with a minute left pushed Dulaney’s lead to 10-8 before the Comets pulled within one on a free-position tally by Kubofcik with 30 seconds remaining. But the hosts never got any closer as the Lions scored the first five goals of the second half.
The first six Lion goals of the second half came from different scorers, including Crowley’s fifth.
“Nat is a core piece to our midfield, she is super athletic and she is the type of player that goes 100% the whole game,” Dulaney coach Kristi Korrow said. “She really helps to set the tempo, she does a little bit of everything.”
Crowley praised her team’s selflessness.
“The game-changer was that we just really worked together as a team and it was a very selfless game. We had a lot of teamwork and it just kind of came down to, we wanted it more,” said Crowley, who also took most of the draws in the second half.
Goalie Puente, who will play at the University of Cincinnati next season, also came up big in the second half.
“She made some really good saves,” Catonsville coach Cantey Bailey said.
Her best save came when she had the ball stolen by Catonsville’s Abby Tartal while Fuente was behind the cage. The empty net was occupied by Fuente who did an acrobatic dive into the crease to stop the shot.
“She is such a leader back there and she is very calm and she’s good under pressure,” Korrow said. “The second-half saves really kept us in the game and really kept our momentum working in our direction.”
Korrow was happy to watch her team stretch out possessions in the second half.
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“It was a great back-and-forth game,” Korrow said. “Catonsville kept battling back and at halftime we talked about controlling the tempo a little bit more and when we are up they have to work the ball, keep the possession, work the clock and do a little more game management and they did a better job in the second half doing that.”
Catonsville’s Bailey was happy with the way her team rallied from deficits in the first half, but wishes the Comets would get going sooner.
“We are very unflappable, I wish we had more pep in our step, but we let whatever happens go and we move on and we get the next ball, good or bad, we are just kind of moving on from that,” she said.
Goals: D-Natalie Crowley 5, Mia Cooper 3, Heidi Schmidt 2, Mackenzie Sims 2, Elena Emde 2, Meghan Haskins 2, Max Yeakel 1, Jenna Welsh 1; C-Adele Jones 3, Casey Fisher 3, Maggie Kubofcik 2, Marisa Massimini 2, Lily Antonelli 1.
Assists: D-Haskins 2, Cooper 1, Schmidt 1; C-Jones 1, Kubofcik 1.
Saves: D-Ella Puente 8; C-Anna Johnston 6.