The Catonsville boys lacrosse team coaches have counted on five freshmen to contribute valuable minutes this season, but Wednesday night at Catonsville High was a time for the seniors to be featured in the game against Perry Hall (7-5).
The eight players who were honored on senior night before the game included T.J. Wess, Evan Cunningham, Jack Maher, David Plumer, Ian Callinan, Jack Lowe, Chase Linsenmeyer and Nathan Burlew.
But, it was a Perry Hall senior who stole the spotlight as Miles Crouse scored three goals and added two assists to lead the visiting Gators to a 6-5 victory.
Perry Hall built a 5-2 lead 40 seconds into the second half on a goal by Chris Peacock, but the Comets (4-8) chipped away at the lead with three unanswered goals.
Catonsville sophomore Jacob DiLuca scored the second of his two goals, from 18 yards out, to make it 5-3 with 3:33 left in the third quarter.
Comet freshman Brian Ruppel scored his second goal with 11:17 left in the fourth quarter and the lead was down to one.
Just 72 seconds later, Michael Wood evened the score at 5-5.
With 5:43 remaining, Peacock scored, off a Crouse assist, and the 6-5 lead held up, but not without some tense final seconds.
After Catonsville goalie Ian Callinan made a save with 16 seconds left, the Comets got it in the Perry Hall zone and freshman John Bolster had possession after the ball went out of bounds with 1.2 seconds left.
On the restart, Bolster’s passed to Wood, but his shot, that went in the goal, came a split second after the final buzzer.
“We tell our guys all the time lacrosse is a game of runs and we have to be ready for a response,” Perry Hall coach Phil Rossetti said. “We are up 5-2 and we can not just sit back and enjoy it because we know they are going to respond, especially at home, senior night, on the road.”
Perry Hall built the lead on the strength of three first-half goals by Crouse.
“I did decide to try and take some more responsibility, put some more on my back, but it was our other guys stepping up honestly,” Crouse said. “We had guys who never played the game before, Tyrese Jenkins, and he stepped up for us big time playing defensive middie.”
Catonsville’s patient offense netted goals from Ruppel and DiLuca in the first half.
But they had a little more sense of urgency in the second half.
“They are a resilient bunch,” Catonsville coach K.R. Schultz said. “We got off to a slow start.”
Despite a fourth one-goal loss this season, the coach praised the seniors playing their final regular-season home game.
“They are a really good group of guys,” Schultz said. “I’m forever grateful because they were juniors when I took over here and they are just awesome to me, buying in right from the jump.”
Rossetti was grateful for his entire team.
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“I’m very proud of these guys,” said Rossetti, who got strong efforts from defenders Wes Pecora, Leo Pecora and Will Kazmierski in front of goalie Colin Kurcoba. “It’s one of the biggest wins in my coaching career.”