Since blowing a big lead in a loss earlier in the spring, Catonsville High’s girls’ lacrosse team has gained a greater appreciation for closing out games. Tuesday, the No. 9 Comets captured arguably their biggest win of the season, knocking off 14th ranked Towson, 11-10, in a Baltimore County Division I contest.
Junior Deb Milani had four goals and an assist for the Comets (11-1 overall), and Lauren McDonald added three scores. Senior Hannah Wohltmann tied Milani for game-high goal honors with four for Towson (9-2).
Olivia Nicolaus’ goal with 5 minutes, 4 seconds remaining in regulation was the difference for the Comets, who moved into the position for a spot in the Baltimore County finals. They can clinch a berth outright with a home victory over defending league champ Dulaney Thursday on Senior Night.
Both teams will bring a 7-1 league mark into the regular season finale. The Comets’ only loss was a 17-16 loss to Perry Hall in a match which they squandered a six-goal advantage.
“The [Perry Hall] game was a humbling experience,” said Catonsville coach Becky Clipp. “You simply can’t let go of a lead. Today we showed a lot of heart holding on the lead because we knew Towson was going to come back.”
The Generals battled back from deficits of 5-1 in the first half and 10-8 in the second as Wohltmann scored twice unassisted, bringing the visitors even at 10 with 13:51 left in regulation.
After missing two shots earlier against Towson goalie Sara Ginsburg (14 saves), Nicolaus took a pass from Milani and beat the netminder with a shot low right for the tiebreaker. Catonsville’s defense with junior goalie Grace Campbell and defenders Maddie Hunt (junior), sophomore Anna Higdon and senior Heather Kendrick made it stand.
In the final two minutes, Campbell stopped a shot by Kelly Lacy and deflected Lacy’s free position attempt. The Comets forced a groundball and gained possession with about 90 seconds remaining and ran out the clock.
“When we’re communicating on defense, things are much easier,” said Campbell. “We really kept our composure.”
Winning five of the first six draws, Catonsville built an early 5-1 advantage as Milani, an University of Maryland commit, captured the ball, sped straight down the field and scored. The Generals finally gain some leverage on the draws and got into their sets, pulling even by halftime on Lacy’s free position tally with 17.5 seconds left.
The squads exchanged goals to start the second half before Milani and Temple recruit Rachel Schwaab scored, giving Catonsville the 10-8 advantage. The Generals answered, but weren’t able to rally for a third time.
“I was pleased with our composure, I wasn’t pleased with our shot selection,” said Towson coach Deedee Franks, whose team lost for the second time in as many days (lost Monday to Dulaney) after starting the season 9-0. “If our shot selection was a little more starter, it would’ve been a different game.”
The Comets next have Dulaney Thursday in what may likely be a precursor to the county finals which is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Franklin’s McWilliams Stadium. Dulaney defeated Catonsville in last year’s county finals.
“We just have to keep the same mentality,” said McDonald, a freshman. “It’s about finishing the game.”
No. 9 Catonsville 11, No. 14 Towson 10
Towson 7 3-10
Catonsville 7 4-11
Goals: Towson-Wohltmann 4, Wiglesworth 2, Young 2, Lacy, Rickels; Catonsville-Milani 4, McDonald 3, R. Schwaab 2, Nicolaus, Nonn
Assists: Towson-Lacy 2, Buck; Catonsville-Corbitt, McDonald, Milani, Nonn, R. Schwaab
Saves: Towson-Ginsburg 14; Catonsville-Campbell 10