For the first time since 2009, the Catonsville boys lacrosse team will be making an appearance in the Class 4A boys lacrosse state semifinals.
Behind four goals from junior midfielder Johnny Bolster and three goals and three assists by junior attackman Frank Manalansan, No. 3 seed Catonsville easily handled sixth-seeded Arundel, 17-5, in a state quarterfinal game Monday afternoon.
The Comets will either play at No. 2 seed Bowie or host No. 7 Northwestern in a state semifinal game Wednesday.
The deciding factor of Monday’s game came at on faceoffs, where Catonsivlle sophomore Nathan Wess dominated by winning 19 out of 26. In fact, the Comets had a 4-0 lead before Arundel finally won one.
“It’s a goal that we set out for ourselves. We’ve been tough on these guys since I came here four years ago and they bought into the culture,” Catonsville coach KR Shultz said. “They’ve worked their tails off doing extra stuff. It just feels really good to be able to say we’re doing what we talked about doing.”
Catonsville jumped out to an early 4-0 lead on goals by Wess, Bolster, Tyler Mikalaski and Byron Newman. Wess, Newman and Manalansan tallied goals after Noah Bell got the Wildcats on the board and the Comets took a 7-1 advantage into the second quarter.
Arundel made a small dent during the early stages of the second with Bell scoring his second early in the frame, but back-to-back goals from Bolster followed by a marker by Noah Kennedy gave the hosts a commanding 10-2 lead. Mason Kolesar and Jack Schuette got two of those goals back, but Newman added another just before halftime to give the Comets a commanding 11-4 lead at intermission.
“They came out fast, beat us to the ball. They came out with a composed game plan and executed it better than we did,” Arundel coach Bobby Baur said. “They were a good settled offense, They spread out, they moved the ball very well, they took advantage when we had a slide; they took advantage when we didn’t have a slide. They had great sticks and it led to great opportunities.”
The icing on the Comets’ cake came in the third quarter when they outscored the visitors, 4-0. Mikalaski, Bolster, and Manalansan scored twice to stake Catonsville to a 15-4 lead heading to the final 12 minutes.
Matt Logan recorded the final goal of the Wildcats season early in the fourth, but Jonas Hipszer and Kennedy rounded out the scoring.
The Comets managed five extra-man opportunity goals throughout the game and scored during all but one.
“Yeah, it was interesting. We normally like ourselves in transition,” Shultz said of his team’s goal total. “I think that is kind of the progression of the season. At the beginning of the year we spent so much time focused on those odd-man games because the ball is on the ground so much. We want to make sure that when we get it up the field, we are effective.”
Baur was satisfied with the showing his team made throughout the season as Arundel had not played in a state playoff since 2001.
“I’m proud of the way over the past year that they have grown to the team this is,” he said. “It is the first regional championship in 20 years at Arundel. They left their legacy on and off the field.”
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Newman had two assists to go with his three goals, while Kennedy and Andrew James had assists for Catonsville.