No. 4 Towson is in unfamiliar role as favorite against Maryland

March 16, 1991|By Mike Preston

This time it was more than the usual compliment given to the week's opponent.

"I think Towson State is as good as the national championship team it had in the mid-1970s," said University of Maryland lacrosse coach Dick Edell. "I'm very serious about that."

No. 4 Towson State (1-0) has received a lot of praise this season, and seventh-ranked Maryland (2-0) will get a look today at 1 p.m. when the teams meet at Minnegan Stadium.

It will be the first time Towson has gone into a game with fTC Maryland a favorite, a role Edell surely will mention to his team and one Runk doesn't want.

"The lords of lacrosse who vote in those polls have put us in this position," Edell said, laughing. "I can't remember ever being the underdog against Towson."

Runk said: "At the beginning of the season, everybody wants to give the other team the kiss of death. This team will be aware that Maryland is no underdog. And after our game last week against Villanova, we still have some areas to improve in, especially on defense."

Runk, though, is just as concerned with his offense. The Tigers will be without starters Glenn Smith, a senior attackman, and Lindsay Dixon, a junior midfielder. They will miss the season's first two games because they participated in fall lacrosse despite being ineligible academically. Smith is Towson's all-time leading scorer.

"There's always that concern about continuity and the people who fill in," Runk said.

The absence of Smith and Lindsay didn't hurt the Tigers much Saturday in their 18-9 victory over Villanova. Rob Shek and Mike DeSimone each had three goals, and John Blatchley had two goals and three assists.

But Villanova is not Maryland.

"Carl's teams are always well-prepared, and they play the first minute like they play the last," Edell said. "Emotionally, they're always ready to play. I expect them to rise to the challenge. We can't worry about those not on the field, but those on it."

Maryland's biggest challenge is matching up with Towson's defense. The Terrapins' Rob Wurzburger (six goals) is excellent on the crease, and fellow attackman Mark Douglas (six goals, five assists) is one of the best in the country.

As usual, Maryland is solid at midfield with Jon Schoenweitz and Craig Bullen.

"It's a pretty typical Maryland team with those rugged midfielders," Runk said, "and I expect another rugged Maryland-Towson game."

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