Catonsville senior Byron Newman scored the game-winning goal with 13.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give the unbeaten Comets (15-0) an 8-7 victory over Hereford (10-3) in the Baltimore County championship game held at Catonsville.
Newman, who scored the Comets’ first three goals, came from behind the crease and took the shot while being double-teamed.
“I saw 15 on the clock and I thought I was going to get a step on him with my left hand because he’s a lefty defender and we had been battling it out all day, I was just like ‘I’ve got to take it to the rack.’” Newman said. “I kind of got collapsed on and I protected my stick and luckily I held onto it and snuck it in.”
It wasn’t the play the Comet coaches called in the huddle during a time out with 47 seconds left.
“We drew up a look and it just wasn’t there and we just let them play,” said Catonsville coach KR Schultz, noting Newman has over 50 points this season. “Byron just made a play. I’m really proud that he just took it upon himself to make a play.”
The Comets took an early 2-0 lead on Newman’s goals, but Hereford rallied to take a 3-2 lead on goals by Trey Gibbons, James Traynor and Baylor Davis. Ryan Martino assisted on two of the tallies.
Newman evened the score with 7:29 left in the second period and Tyler Mikalaski assisted Johnny Bolster to give the Comets a 4-3 with 4:57 remaining in the half.
Collin Lee’s score sent the teams to halftime tied at 4.
Ryder Walter’s feed to Gibbons gave the Bulls a 5-4 advantage and Gibbons converted a Logan Sinsebox pass for a 6-4 lead with 10:52 left in the fourth quarter.
The Comets had trouble solving the Hereford defense led by longsticks Walter, Nathan Van Note and Austin Clarke, and goalie Cole Tedlicka (seven saves).
But the Comets rallied behind strong faceoff work from Nathan Wess, who won the final seven faceoffs after losing six of the first eight.
“Nathan Wess at the X, he was struggling a little bit early, but at halftime he locked in and had an amazing second half and I believe he won the game for us,” Newman said.
“He works his tail off to win them and he does a great job, and I thought he did great today,” Schultz said. “He is a heck of a competitor.”
After Bolster scored with 6:13 left, Wess won the ensuing faceoff and scored seven seconds later to tie it at 6.
Hereford jumped back ahead, 7-6, on a goal by Sinsebox 12 seconds into the fourth quarter, but the Comet defense, fueled by James Azbill, Will Roberson, John Gorski and Josh Williams and goalie Brian Ruppel shut the Bulls out the rest of the way.
Brian Ruppel had four of his 10 saves in the final eight minutes.
Jay Rualo’s only goal of the game, off a fast-break feed from Roberson, tied the score at 7 with just over three minutes to play.
“[Rualo] is just an elite shooter,” Schultz said. “He’s an excellent lacrosse player with a really high IQ, so I think based on matchups, what are good times to go and what are not good times to go and when it was his turn to can it he certainly did.”
That set up the late heroics for Newman and he delivered.
“Byron lives and breathes lacrosse and he’s worked his tail off for a really, really long time,” Schultz said.
Goals: C-Byron Newman 4, Johnny Bolster 2, Nathan Wess 1, Jay Rualo 1; H-Trey Gibbons 3, James Traynor 1, Baylor Davis 1, Logan Sinsebox 1, Collin Lee 1.
Assists: C-Tyler Mikalaski 1, Will Roberson 1; H-Ryan Martino 2, Ryan Walter 1, Sinsebox 1
Saves: C-Brian Ruppel 10; Cole Jedlicka 7.
Izzo nets game-winner for Hereford girls
Hereford junior Maddy Izzo scored the game-winning goal with 2:12 left in the second overtime to lift Hereford (13-1) to a 13-12 victory over Towson (10-3) in the Baltimore County girls championship game held at Catonsville High.
Izzo’s only goal of the night, off a feed from Kennedy Ziegler, helped the Bulls erase a 10-goal deficit in the first half.
“We had this play where we look for the iso behind and I saw her eyes looking at me and I saw her open, and I cut and I wasn’t open and I cut back and I was open and I finished,” Izzo said. “It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.”
Swift passing and pinpoint shooting helped the Generals jump out to an 11-1 lead in the first half with two goals each from Mary Clare Heubeck, Brigid Vaikness and Finlay Harmon and two assists each from Vaikness and Avery Briggs.
A goal by Hereford’s Jordan Peterson, off an assist by Bailey Berquist with one second left in the half, started the Bulls’ rally.
“We put ourselves in a position where we had to play an almost near-perfect second half in order to come back,” Hereford coach Kelly Swift said. “We put ourselves in a huge hole. Towson is a great team and they came out and they knew how to play against our defense and they did a wonderful job.”
Izzo credited captains Peterson, Lindsey Moneymaker, Hope Barber and Maddie Magliocca with helping to get the team refocused at halftime.
“Our captains pump us up every time and get us ready to go,” she said.
Maya Antonakas assisted Ziegler for Hereford’s first goal of the second half, but Towson’s Kara Janishefski scored off a Vaikness feed and the lead was 12-3 with 16:52 left in regulation.
That was the last goal the Generals scored.
Hereford string of 10 unanswered goals began with a Cam Kauffman strike off a Maddie Fuller feed with 16:19 left in the second half. It was the first of two goals for Kauffman during the rally.
Also scoring for the Bulls during the comeback were Peterson (three goals), Moneymaker (two), Ziegler and Katie Burks (one each).
Peterson’s unassisted tally with 5:40 left in the second half finally tied the score at 12.
“I told the girls at halftime we are not giving up, I don’t care what the score is, we are not giving up and we didn’t,” Hereford coach Kelly Swift said. “I just told them we are going to keep chipping and that is exactly what they did.”
The Morning Sun
“I think we just came out overly confident in the second half and we thought we had the game before we had it,” Towson coach Taylor Carhart said. “We told them at halftime that Hereford is not going to let down and that they are a very good team and they are going to chip away at this lead and. That is exactly what they did. All credit to Hereford.”
The coach was still inspired by her team’s first half.
“If they play like that first half there is not a team in the state that can stop us,” she said.
Goals: H-Jordan Peterson 3, Lindsey Moneymaker 3, Kennedy Ziegler 2, Cam Kauffman 2, Katie Burks 1, Bailey Berquist 1, Maddy Izzo 1; T-Kara Janishefski 3, Brigid Vaikness 2, Chloe Gibson 2, Mary Clare Heubeck 2, Finlay Harmon 2, Avery Briggs 1.
Assists: H-Ziegler 2, Berquist 1, Burks 1, Maya Antonakas 1; T-Vaikness 3, Gibson 1, Harmon 1, Briggs 1.
Saves: H-MK McGonigle 7; Lucy Buttarazzi 5.