Unbeaten Catonsville captures first boys lacrosse region title since 2009; Bolster and Newman record hat tricks (VIDEO HERE!)

Catonsville, with Johnny Bolster, is headed to the Class 4A state boys lacrosse “Elite Eight.” The junior scored three goals as the Comets won the North Region I title with a 10-4 victory over Dulaney in Baltimore County.

by Derek Toney

The “next man up” theory proved true for Catonsville High boys lacrosse Friday evening.

The Comets won the Class 4A North Region I title with a 10-4 victory over Dulaney in Baltimore County. Byron Newman posted three goals and two assists for Catonsville, and junior Johnny Bolster added a hat trick.

With six seniors away for Senior Week in Ocean City, the undefeated Comets (8-0 overall) did not miss a beat, moving a step closer to their first state semifinal since 2009. Catonsville will host a state quarterfinal contest Monday.

“They responded well. We always talk about loving your teammates and maximizing your efforts,” said Comets coach KR Schultz. “They sold out for each other.”

Catonsville pulled away in the second half, scoring unanswered goals in the third period, turning a 5-3 advantage into 8-3. Eric Kaplan added two goals and an assist and Frank Manalansan and Tyler Mikalski each tallied.

Bolster said it was all about confidence.

“We knew we were the better team,” said Bolster. “I think we out-hustled them and rode them pretty well.”

The Comets led wire-to-wire, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead on scores from Newman and Kaplan. The duo answered with goals after Dulaney’s first tally, extending the hosts’ lead to 4-1.

The Lions pulled to 4-3 on goals from Braeden Colegrove and Luke Pezzulla, but Manalansan’s goal, off an assist from junior James Azbill, put Catonsville up 5-3 at intermission.

The Comets’ defense, featuring junior goalie Brian Ruppel, an University of Maryland commit, and longstick Azbill (Towson commit), kept Dulaney (3-6) under wraps in the second half.

“Our guys played hard. It’s about making plays,” said Lions coach Kyle Fiat. “These guys are young, they got energy, excited to play and making plays. We didn’t make enough plays.”

Fiat said his coaches and players cherished the opportunity to play after last season was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“At the end of the day, the outcome of everybody getting out on the field and play is priceless,” said Fiat.

Schultz said the Comets have been motivated this spring by the lost of 2020. Catonsville, on a limited schedule, was the best in Baltimore County.

The Comets, who claimed their first region title since 2009, are focused on bigger things.

“This core group of guys have been great since they showed up as a freshman. They’re been all in,” said Schultz. “We want to make a run at this thing…we’re grateful we get to keep playing.”

“We’re ready for whoever’s next, we’re ready to make history,” said Bolster. “We’re ready to win states.”