Rich Betcher had a rude awakening after he arrived at Towson State as a decorated lacrosse goalie from the junior college wars.
Betcher's chest was full of ribbons. He was a two-time All-American at Nassau Community College. Twice he was the MVP in the National Junior College Tournament. Last spring he led Nassau to the national championship.
But there is a chasm between even quality junior college competition and Division I, and in his second game at Towson RTC State Betcher fell into it. By no means was it all his fault, for the rest of the Tigers' defense betrayed him.
Betcher was peppered by goals in Towson State's 17-16 loss to Maryland 12 days ago and made only five saves.
Yesterday he had what he called a measure of "redemption on my part." This time he made 17 saves as No. 10 Towson State (2-1) defeated No. 19 Penn State (3-3), 16-8.
"I wish we could have used some of those saves today against Maryland," Towson coach Carl Runk said.
Runk is quick to point out that the Terps scored only one goal from 15 yards out; the rest were from the 5- to 7-yard range.
"You better be an awful wide goalie to stop those," Runk said.
Said Betcher, "A lot were from point-blank range, but what can you do?"
What Runk did was devote more time than usual in practice to defense.
"I hope Betcher doesn't have to go through what he did against Maryland again," Runk said. "But that's up to the defense.
"We don't want our defensemen chasing attackmen all over the field. Maryland played a luring game, and our defensemen were lured out. We tended to cover the perimeter and leave the middle open."
While Runk and Betcher agree there's a substantial difference between junior college and Division I lacrosse, the goalie indicates the Maryland game may have been an aberration.
"We beat Virginia in a scrimmage, 9-6," Betcher said, referring to the team that is now No. 1. "I was pretty consistent."
Runk put it this way: "Our season started today. The defense played well. We're putting Maryland behind us."
Next for the Tigers is a visit Saturday to C.W. Post.
Michael DeSimone led Towson with five goals, and John Blatchley had a goal and four assists . . . After a two-game suspension for academic deficiencies recently uncovered by an audit of the 1989 fall semester, Glenn Smith and Lindsay Dixon returned. Smith had three goals and an assist, Dixon an assist . . . Ted Peddy (McDonogh) scored two goals for Penn State . . . Peddy is one of only two players from the Baltimore area on State's squad; the other is Mike Rolewicz of Columbia.