No. 1 Car­di­nals fall

Sec­ond-half goal gives No. 4 Mount Saint Joe a 1-0 vic­tory over vis­it­ing Calvert Hall

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Glenn Gra­ham glenn.gra­ham@balt­ twit­­nGra­hamSun

This sea­son, the Catonsville boys soc­cer team doesn’t have any nat­u­ral goal scor­ers as it did in re­cent years, which has the Comets scratch­ing and claw­ing for of­fense with ev­ery­body needed to chip in.

In Wed­nes­day’s Bal­ti­more County show­down with Perry Hall, it was re­serve ju­nior mid­fielder Michael English who got the job done.

Fit­tingly, it was ex­tra ef­fort that pro­duced the game’s only goal in the No. 9 Comets’ 1-0 win over the vis­it­ing Ga­tors.

Af­ter tak­ing a pass from Luke Palmisano to get be­hind the Ga­tors de­fense, English had his first shot turned away by goalie Ay­den Crew. When the re­bound came right back to him, English found the lower right cor­ner from 10 yards mid­way through the sec­ond half. In con­trol for most of the game, they were able to fend off all of Perry Hall’s lim­ited chances the rest of the way to win.

Catonsville, which won the Bal­ti­more County cham­pi­onship be­hind grad­u­ated for­ward Jake Par­rott last sea­son, im­proved to 4-1-1, while Perry Hall, the de­fend­ing Class 4A state cham­pi­ons, fell to 4-4.

“It was a good ball by Luke out at the 18 and the first time it didn’t work out, but I got the re­bound on the sec­ond try,” said English, who has two goals this sea­son. “It’s harder for us this year, ob­vi­ously with­out a tal­ent like Jake, but we’re get­ting ev­ery­body to­gether, all work­ing hard and get­ting more even scor­ing.”

Last sea­son, Catonsville beat Perry Hall, 1-0, to claim the county ti­tle. The Ga­tors avenged the loss with a 2-1 over­time win in the Class 4A North re­gion play­offs on their way to cap­tur­ing their first state crown.

The Comets brought back more re­turn­ing tal­ent and it showed for most of the game. In the first half, they dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion and flooded the Ga­tors’ penalty area with long throws, cor­ner kicks and other free kicks. But they couldn’t break through with Perry Hall se­nior for­ward Jack Muller drop­ping back and dom­i­nat­ing in the air to thwart the chances.

In a more evenly played sec­ond half, the Comets were fi­nally able to solve Crew, who fin­ished with seven saves. Since a 2-1 sea­son-open­ing loss to Mount He­bron, Catonsville has gone 4-0-1 with no goals al­lowed.

Hav­ing lost eight starters to grad­u­a­tion from last year’s state ti­tle team, the Ga­tors are a workin progress. Af­ter the dif­fi­cult first half Wed­nes­day, they ad­justed at half­time and played a stronger sec­ond half.

“Ob­vi­ously Catonsville is a very good team,” Perry Hall coach Pete Eib­ner said. “The sec­ond half, I thought our guys played a lot tougher and we ad­justed to their speed. I thought while they still had more pos­ses­sion and ob­vi­ously got that goal on one of their op­por­tu­ni­ties, we showed a lot bet­ter. We’ve got to do a lit­tle more on the of­fen­sive sides of things, but hats off to Catonsville. They played a great game.”

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