In a key game with a berth in the Baltimore County championship game on the line, Towson scored early and added two more goals in the second half to build a commanding 3-0 lead.
Catonsville, however, mounted a late comeback, answering with two goals, but the Generals ultimately held on for a 3-2 victory Wednesday night.
It was senior night for the Comets (8-2-1), but it was Towson (10-1) that got off to an electric start.
Just 21 seconds into the game, Jackson Kanzler drilled a hard low shot that, while Catonsville goalie Brian Ruppel made a tough save on, set the tone for what was to come. Kanzler helped break the ice seven minutes later, as he sent a pass to Koshish Giri, who buried a shot for a 1-0 lead.
“The ball came to me and I felt a center back right behind me so I was just like I need to flick it over him, I took a nice little touch set it up on my right foot and put it past the goalie,” Giri said.
Giri said the intense early pressure was no accident.
“Coach said it before the game we needed a goal in the first five minutes and the boys understood that,” he said. “Every game it’s the same idea, we need a goal and that’s what we have been doing all season.”
Giri narrowly missed another golden opportunity with 27:10 left in the half, but his shot leaked wide.
With 3:45 left in the half, the Generals appeared to score a second goal, but a header by James Anderson was cleared by defender Kai Khual, who was perched on the end line.
Catonsville’s first half shots came from seniors Henry Ludovico, Nick Sirasky, Johnny Bolster and Harris Linsenmeyer, but none beat goalie Parker Fong.
Towson’s Jake DelViscio and Nick Elliott controlled the midfield and kept the Comets from getting many chances in the box.
DelViscio scored the second goal just over 10 minutes into the second half when he found an opening in the box after a miscommunication and deposited in from in close.
“We made mistakes that we don’t usually make,” Catonsville coach Brendan Kennedy said. “The first and second goals came from individual mistakes from guys that don’t normally make those mistakes.”
With 26:26 left in the game, Towson made it 3-0 after Giri’s corner kick led to a goal by Anderson.
“Most of our goals have come through corner kicks and set pieces,” Giri said. “We work on them a lot in practice and he [Dase] has helped me perfect my game on set pieces. We could have had more on set pieces, but we will take what we can get.”
The Comets kept the pressure on despite the deficit and were rewarded for their effort. Senior Nick Sirasky scored on a low rocket with 11:56 left in the game, and Brian Barrientos scored with 1:13 left to make it 3-2, but it was the last chance they got.
Towson has allowed just five goals all season and they were the only ones that did not come on set pieces.
Now 10-1 on the season, Dase admitted he is a bit surprised by the resounding success.
“Nobody thought we had it in us back in July or August,” Dase said. “We didn’t win a scrimmage, but we have jelled really well.”
Towson will make its fifth straight county championship game appearance and face Perry Hall on Oct. 25.
Catonsville has three road games next week before postseason play begins. The Comets are at Century (Oct. 18), at Hereford (Oct. 19) and at Atholton (Oct. 21).
“We don’t have anything to worry about now but ourselves,” Kennedy said.
The Catonsville seniors honored before the game included: Ryan Kaler, Siang Tun, Tyler Stevenson, Andrew James, Anthony Busciglio, Ashton O’Dell, Gavin Elder, Ibrahim Kholti Yamani, Jonas Hipszer, Tyler Mikalaski, Ruppel, Sirasky, Ludovico, Linsenmeyer, Bolster and Khual.