Jeff Mann is one of the cogs that makes Dulaney's offense go, but even he had to tip his hat to the Lions' defense.
The 10th-ranked Lions used a stout defense and timely goaltending to defeat host Catonsville, 9-5, in a key Baltimore County 4A-3A game yesterday. Mann and Cody Lehrer each scored three goals to pace the Lions (4-1). Skippy Clary had two goals for the Comets (1-3).
"Our 'D' is awesome," said Mann, who will play lacrosse at the Naval Academy prep school next year. "We came out a little sluggish early in the game, and they kept us in it until we got going. They were the real heroes today."
The Comets tried to slow the game early, and took advantage of some sloppy passing and short possessions by the Lions to only trail 2-1 after the first quarter. Alex Williamson, who finished with 13 saves, contributed several of them early to end many promising possessions by Catonsville.
With 7:26 left in the second quarter, Mann scored his first goal when he beat Comets goalie Nick Gallina over his right shoulder to run the lead to 3-1.
The Comets tried to increase their physical play, but were called for several penalties midway through the quarter.
Lehrer scored with 6:23 left in the quarter on the first man advantage, then followed up with another goal just 1:23 later on another man advantage to run the lead to 5-1 with 5:00 left in the first half.
Catonsville made a short run late in the game. Trailing 7-2 with 8:30 left in the third quarter, the Comets scored three of the next four goals to cut the margin to 8-5 with 7:20 left in the game.
The Comets kept applying the pressure and controlled the offense through much of the final quarter, but Williamson and the defense made the lead stand up.
The game was stopped for 45 minutes with 3:47 remaining, while Dulaney's Alex Keefer was taken away by ambulance for a neck injury. When play resumed, Mann added the last of his three goals with 58 seconds left to close out the scoring.
"I wish we could put together four good quarters of lacrosse," Dulaney coach Jake Reed said. "We have a problem [on offense] sometimes where we try too hard. We need to settle down and let the game come to us."
The win puts Dulaney in a familiar position - in the driver's seat for another Baltimore County title. Still, Williamson said they did not take the Comets lightly.
"They have a good team," Williamson said. "I was really nervous coming into the game. This win takes a little of the pressure off of us. Now we'll see if we can build on it."
No. 3 Loyola 6, No. 8 St. Paul's 5 -- Steele Stanwick was held to two goals but had the game-winner, as the visiting Dons (4-2) defeated St. Paul's (5-5). Pete Smythe and Alex Chay had two scores apiece for St. Paul's.
No. 4 St. Mary's 17, Archbishop Spalding 6 -- The Saints (10-0) limited the visiting Cavaliers to 15 shots to remain undefeated. Senior attackman Matt Lamon led all scorers with four goals and two assists and Peter Athens added three goals and an assist as the Saints jumped out to a 10-0 halftime lead.
Notre Dame Prep 14, St. Paul's 5 -- Emilie Boeri had four goals and an assist as the visiting Blazers (5-3) used a fast start to win.
Sun reporters contributed to this article.