Defending champion Towson State and Drexel University, in the championship game for the third straight year, battled to a 1-1 overtime tie in their East Coast Conference meeting and were declared co-champions at Towson State yesterday.
Mike Pellegrini (John Carroll), a junior forward, beat his goalkeeper brother Rich (John Carroll), a Towson State freshman, to give Drexel its goal at 7 minutes, 4 seconds. Joe Layfield (Calvert Hall) made it four goals in as many playoff games over two years when he tied it for the Tigers at 80:31.
The Pellegrini brothers were named co-most valuable players of the tournament, the first to have co-champions in the conference's 17-year history.
Overall, Drexel (13-4-2) dominated play, out-shot Towson State (12-6-2), 30-8, and had several good scoring chances.
Senior Steve Keppler (Arundel) had the best shot 1:21 into the second 15-minute overtime period, but his penalty kick soared high over the crossbar. Sophomore sweeper Lance Johnson took down Mike Petrakis in the penalty area to set up the kick and then Johnson was ejected for telling the referee what he thought of the call.
Keppler said later: "I haven't missed a penalty kick in eight years, but it happens. You just give it your best shot." His previous successful penalty kicks had included one to get the Dragons into the 1988 playoffs, one in a semifinal triumph last year and one in the semifinals last week, when Drexel beat Central Connecticut, 3-0.
Rich Pellegrini tipped two other potential Drexel goals over the crossbar, and the keeper finished with nine saves. Drexel's Rune Helgeland, a junior from Norway, was credited with one save.
"That seems to be our Achilles heel, giving up an early goal," said Towson State coach Frank Olszewski. "Drexel had scored first in last year's title game, won by the Tigers, 2-1; and Rider scored first in last Tuesday's ECC semifinal, again won by Towson State, 2-1.
Layfield's goal, his team-high seventh of the year, came from the 18-yard stripe, off a play by his cousin, Drexel freshman Mike Stallings (Calvert Hall). "I heard Helgeland call for the ball. There was nobody around, and I picked up my foot to let the ball go back to him, it hit the bottom of my shoe and deflected to the side."
Layfield, who had come racing up from behind, was there to get the ball and simply kicked it over Helgeland, who had slipped trying to get back to the goal. "I didn't know he was there," Stallings said, able to laugh as he grabbed Layfield in a mock-angry headlock.
NOTES: In 12 meetings, the home team has not lost, with Drexel holding a 6-4-2 edge. . . . Towson State handed Drexel its only regular-season ECC loss, winning 1-0 on an overtime goal by Jay Normile. . . . Keppler's younger brother Mike is a reserve for Towson State.