Towson State defeated Johns Hopkins, 12-7, and Loyola College won, 12-3, over University of Maryland Baltimore County yesterday in the semifinal round of the Choice-Visa Lacrosse Classic at UMBC.
The winners will meet today at 2 p.m. for the championship Loyola won last year's tournament with a 16-12, come-from-behind victory over the Tigers.
Towson, which was denied a trip to the playoffs due to las year's loss to Hopkins, took control early and dominated most of the game. Glenn Smith continued to trouble the Blue Jays, scoring his first of three goals in the first two minutes. The Tigers' Michael DeSimone scored again 30 seconds later.
"I was very happy with our defense," said Tigers coach Car Runk. "They had six starters on the bench. They'll be there in the spring."
Jeff Wills scored both Hopkins goals unassisted in the first half one an open-net shot after Towson goalie Richard Betcher lost the ball in front of the crease.
Betcher, who transferred from Nassau Community College picked up where four-year starter Dave Linthicum left off from last year. Betcher recorded 22 saves, including several in one-on-one situations.
"Betcher made some saves that really kept us in the game, Runk said.
Hopkins first-year coach Tony Seaman saw his squad for the firs time in a game situation.
"We improved our play throughout the four periods," he said. " was happy with our defense and our progress."
Loyola scored eight unanswered goals, showcasing it second-half prowess. Last year, the Greyhounds had five second-half comebacks from either a deficit or a tie. After a goal by Kevin Beach in the first 1 1/2 minutes, the first half seemed as sloppy as the playing conditions.
"We tried a lot of things in the first half," said Loyola coach Dav Cottle. "UMBC played us tough in the first half. We just relaxed and played better. We'll have to play better tomorrow."
The Greyhounds scored only one more goal the first quarter, an the play of goalie Tim Dunnigan kept them in the game.
Dunnigan was a backup to third-team All-American Charli Toomey for two years and had started only once before yesterday.
The close defense also supported Dunnigan well. Bill Wilso foiled two fast breaks with effective checks in the second half, and Scott Oslislo created a fast break of his own and scored. Last season, Oslislo took four shots and scored once.
"Our defense has been solid for the past four weeks," Dunniga said. "I think we got the kinks out, and our offense will really kick in tomorrow."
Loyola's ball control improved as the field dried. Attackman Ji Blanding gave the Hounds a quick cushion with consecutive goals in just eight seconds to start the second quarter.