Glenn Smith scored two early fourth-quarter goals to regai Towson State's momentum, and the Tigers went on to a 15-8 lacrosse victory over Navy at Minnegan Stadium last night in a battle between two teams hoping to keep their National Collegiate Athletic Association playoff hopes alive.
The win for No. 9 Towson State improved its record to 7-2 and enhanced the Tigers' playoff hopes, but Navy (5-5) is an extreme long shot at best.
Smith, who finished with five goals to become Towson's second all-time scoring leader, scored on a feed from Brian Cesarski 18 ++ seconds into the fourth quarter. The goal came six seconds after Navy had cut what was once an 8-4 Towson lead to 9-8.
"It seems that when we're in a tight ballgame, we have a tendency to let up," said Smith, "but we kept saying in the huddle tonight that we weren't going to let that happen. We kept up the intensity, and it paid off in the fourth quarter."
Smith added his fourth goal of the game on John Blatchley's fourth assist three minutes later, and Towson built its lead to 15-8 with the next four goals of the quarter.
The teams had traded single goals in the third quarter, which ended with Towson ahead, 9-7, but with two Tigers in the penalty box. Twelve seconds into the fourth quarter, Navy cut the lead to 9-8, as Gardner Smith scored on an extra-man feed from Dennis Nealon.
Six seconds later, Glenn Smith became the second all-time leading Tigers scorer, and the fourth-quarter Towson charge was under way. Smith moved ahead of Mike Burke, who had accumulated 180 points from 1979-82. Bob Griebe's 229 points is first.
"It's an honor to move up on the scoring list," said Smith. "But I'm a senior now, and all I'm thinking about is the playoffs."
The meeting was only the second between Navy and Towson and the first since 1975, when Navy won, 13-9.
The Tigers fell behind for the only time in the first half, 3-2, when Navy's John Quinn scored on a feed from John Duthie nine seconds into the second quarter. Duthie controlled the faceoff, and Quinn converted the quick feed.
Towson scored six of the next seven goals to open an 8-4 lead with less than three minutes left in the half. Rob Shek scored twice during the Towson spurt, and Mike DeSimone had a goal and two assists. DeSimone's goal on a feed from Blatchley with 2 minutes, 47 seconds left before halftime gave the Tigers a four-goal bulge and seemingly the momentum.
But Navy rallied in the last minute before halftime, as Matt Pawlikowski scored on a feed from Nealon and Gardner Smith's third goal of the half cut the Towson lead to 8-6 with 20 seconds left in the first half.
Neither team established momentum in the opening quarter. Towson scored first, as Glenn Smith scored his 19th goal of the season after Randy Ernst broke up a clear and fed Smith in front of the crease a little more than three minutes into the game.
Navy evened the score as Gardner Smith fired an unassisted goal past Towson goalie Rich Betcher midway in the quarter. DeSimone took a feed from Blatchley to regain the lead at 2-1 for Towson. But Navy's Robert Miller scored to make it 2-2 after one quarter.
Saturday, Towson State travels to UMBC, and things don't get any easier for Navy, which will be at Johns Hopkins as the Blue Jays' homecoming guest.
Navy 2 4 1 1 -- 8
Towson State 2 6 1 6 -- 15
Goals: N--Ga. Smith 4, Pawlikowski, Roszko, Miller, Quinn; T--Gl. Smith 5, DeSimone 4, Shek 2, Barger 2, Connolly, Shoul. Assists: N--Nealon 2, Slough, Mulieri, Miller, Duthie; T--Blatchley 4, DeSimone 2, Ernst, Dixon, Cesarski, Shoul. Saves: N--Farrington 13; T--Betcher 13. Faceoffs: N 9, T 18. Penalties: N 5, T 5.