Catonsville sophomore Caitlyn Baeck scored her first game-winning goal with three minutes left in regulation, giving the host Comets a 2-1 comeback victory over Mount de Sales in Monday evening field hockey action.
Baeck scored the breakaway goal after getting a pass just over midfield.
“The defender fell and then I kept going and then I hit the goalie and she fell and I hit it in,” said Baeck, who took the shot while sprawling to the turf.
“She will just go to goal,” Catonsville first-year head coach Barbara Bates said. “That does not phase her. She is a good little player.”
Ironically, Baeck’s older sister, Rachel, played on the Mount de Sales varsity as a freshman in 2013 and 2014.
Caitlyn Baeck played JV last year and was pulled up to varsity for the postseason and had a goal and assist in a 6-0 regional playoff win over Perry Hall.
The Comets (1-0) graduated nine seniors from that 9-7 squad that was eliminated by Dulaney, 3-1, in the sectional finals.
The only returning starters back were senior defender Zoe Waddell, senior midfielder Molly Buettner and junior goalie Madison Manalansan.
Manalansan was clutch in the first half when the Sailors controlled the time of possession.
“Our goalie Madison kept us in the game the whole first half, because we definitely weren’t in the game,” Bates said. “The things we talked about before the game, we didn’t do any in the first half, but we did do them in the second half.”
The only goal Manalansan allowed came off a penalty corner inserted by senior Kate Janos.
Janos fed it to junior Gianna Antone, whose crisp cross was driven toward the goal by junior Libby Rehkemper and tapped home, from about a foot away from the goal line, by freshman Abby Komiske with 8:27 left in the first half.
Bates called a time out and the Comets regrouped and came out on a mission in the second half.
They got the equalizer 5:05 into the second half when Waddell assisted sophomore forward Hayden Kesner with a perfect diagonal pass.
The Sailors nearly pulled ahead later in the half, but a shot by Antone was stuffed by Manalansan, and a rebound shot from Janos leaked wide.
The victory was the first for Bates, who was the Catonsville varsity assistant coach last season and it was the second straight loss for the Sailors under first-year head coach Alex Chambers, who replaced Mary Gentner.
“We have a lot of fresh faces and a lot of enthusiasm and excitement,” said Chambers, whose Sailors lost their opener to St. Paul’s.“There is a lot of potential and I’m excited for it. We’ve done some good stuff, but we just haven’t pulled through all the way.”
Bates, whose daughter Ashley was one of the nine seniors that graduated from the 2016 squad coached by Carrie McKenna-Wilson, also likes Catonsville’s potential and the grit they showed in the second half.
“I told the girls, ‘the game is going to come down to who wants it more,’ and I think that’s what it came down to and we definitely came alive and were dominating the entire second half,” Bates said.