Catonsville boys lacrosse scored seven straight goals in the fourth quarter to stun visiting Dulaney, 12-10, on Wednesday night.
Drew Dannenfelser scored his only goal of the game to put the Lions ahead 9-5 with 10:20 left in the game, but the Comets roared back to secure the victory.
Nathan Wess scored a team-high four goals and won 22 of 26 faceoffs for Catsonville (6-5), while Eric Kaplan and Noah Kennedy each had three goals. Liam Holman led Dulaney (5-6) with six goals and one assist.
Catonsville’s comeback started with goals by Kennedy, Kaplan and long-stick defender Sam Azbil, cutting the deficit to 9-8 with 6:41 left in the final quarter.
A save by Catonsville’s Gabe Wallman was answered by two clutch saves by Dulaney’s Jake Carlson, keeping the Lions’ lead at one, before defenseman John Gorski fed Wess for the game-tying goal with 2:04 remaining.
“We had a play before, but that wasn’t the look,” Gorski said. “Normally I look to Eric, but I saw Nathan between the two guys because they cheated to Eric because they knew he was a shooter and I hit Nathan and he was wide open and he scored.”
That goal started a run of four straight in 64 seconds.
“We were telling each other not to rush, that’s what I love about this team. The last two years we haven’t had too much adversity because we are a lot of veterans, but these guys knew we had enough in us to battle back in this game,” Kaplan said. “This was like a must-win game because coming back means a lot for us and our mentality in the locker room.”
Kaplan scored an unassisted goal after a long pass from Wade Davis to give the Comets a 10-9 lead with 1:47 remaining.
“I knew I had to go to goal and it was a little confidence booster there and we all stepped up when we needed to,” Kaplan said.
Just 16 seconds later, Gorski scored off an assist from fellow defenseman Will Roberson.
“I was trying to place it on the goalie’s off side and it wasn’t the best shot, but I got him five-hole between the legs,” said Gorski, whose long stick is often present in the offensive end.
“He played [offense] growing up and he’s a kid who we just trust,” Catonsville coach KR Schultz said. “He’s a great lacrosse player and we trust him to do a ton of things we ask him to do. We ask a ton of all of our [long] poles and they are stepping up and doing it.”
Catonsville’s final goal came from Kennedy with 58 seconds left before Dulaney’s Holman capped the scoring with 19 seconds remaining.
Holman had three goals and an assist in the first half and Chris Esslinger added two goals as the Lions erased an early 3-0 deficit to take a 5-4 lead into the break. Holman added two goals in the third quarter to help expand the lead to 8-5.
“He is a big strong kid who is a matchup issue and he is an awesome player,” Dulaney coach Kyle Fiat said of Holman.
Dulaney defenders Dannenfelser, Sean Center Wilhelm, Leo Hale, Cooper Magday and Jack MacLaren held the Comets scoreless late in the third quarter despite overlapping extra-man opportunities.
“I give a ton of credit to our defense, they played their hearts out,” Fiat said. “Even with a lopsided faceoff result, we gave it a shot, we were right there in it. I’m proud of the guys, it was a good battle and we set ourselves up to win and the next step in our process is finishing.”
In the end, they couldn’t overcome Catonsville’s faceoff dominance and time of possession control.
“[Wess] is incredible,” Schultz said of the senior, who won 8 of 10 faceoffs in the final quarter. “We said to Nate, Eric and Gabe, as seniors, it’s time to step up and they did. I was just really proud of the way they battled back and fought. We just challenged them at halftime to be fighters and competitors and they did.’”