Towson State's quest for a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I lacrosse playoff bid will not be decided for another week, the No. 9 Tigers didn't enhance their position by losing to No. 6 Johns Hopkins, 12-9, last night before a sellout crowd of 5,500 at Minnegan Stadium.
The Tigers (8-3) couldn't stop Blue Jays midfielder Brian Lukacz (five goals), attackman Brendan Cody (three goals) and a third-quarter, 8-3 Johns Hopkins spurt in which the Blue Jays scored five consecutive goals to take control of the game.
In the past two years, the Johns Hopkins game has been critical to Towson's playoff hopes, especially since the Tigers play the nationally ranked Blue Jays late in the season.
Two years ago, Towson beat Johns Hopkins, 9-8, in overtime, and that win vaulted the Tigers, who finished 9-4, into the playoffs. Last year Towson, with an 11-2 record, lost, 12-9, to Johns Hopkins and did not receive a bid.
One consolation for Towson, which will play Delaware on Saturday, is that No. 7. Syracuse beat No. 10 Massachusetts, 13-9, yesterday. The selection committee will announce the 12-team field next Sunday.
One coach in Towson's corner is Johns Hopkins'Tony Seaman.
"Towson belongs in the playoffs said Seaman."If they're not,itsrobbery."
Towson attackman Michael DeSimone said:"Hopefully, this doesn't knock us out.We played against one of the betterteams in the country,and hopefully the selection committee will see we played all the top teams tough.It would be real disappointing not to get in again. We were expecting a great season."
The Tigers played Hopkins close for a hal, but then Cody and Panetta took control.
Panetta scored with barely one minute gone in the third period t give Hopkins an 8-7 lead. Cody then caught the rebound off a shot and returned it for an extra-man goal with 12 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the third period. About two minutes later, Cody scored again to give Johns Hopkins a 10-7 lead.
Lukacz scored his fifth goal with 4:54 left in the period, followed by another goal by Cody with 1:21 left.
Towson, which had been without a goal for 21:48, scored on an extra-man situation with 39 seconds left in the third quarter.
Towson's Tony Millon scored on an underhand shot with 13:15 left in the game to pull Towson within 12-9.,but that's all the offense the Tigers had in the second half.
"I never thought we got into our offensive patterns the whole night."said Towson State coach Carl Runk."Either we'd come down and take a couple of quick shots, or the goalie would come up with a big saves. We played too much defense,and our kids got tired. We don't have a lot of depth."Neither team could gain more than a three-goal advantage in the first two periods, as the half ended in a 7-7 tie.
Hopkins took a 2-0 lead with 10:11 left in the first quarter, as Lukacz accounted for both goals, both from the left side.
Towson got a fluke goal with 7:26 remaining in the period, as Tigers attackman Randy Ernst tried a pass across the crease to fellow attackman Michael DeSimone only to have Johns Hopkins goalie Scott Giardina knock down the pass, but the ball went into the goal.
Lukacz came back, scoring from the left side of the goal with 5:30 left in the period to push Johns Hopkins to a 3-1 lead. Nearly a minute later, Hopkins midfielder Charlie Speno took a pass from Panetta to score outside the crease for a 4-1 lead.
Towson closed out the scoring in the quarter, with attackman John Blatchley scoring on a fast break with 4:21 left in the period.
The Tigers turned up the tempo in the second period, outshooting Johns Hopkins, 12-6, and at one time holding a 7-5 lead. The player most responsible for the Towson turnaround was Blatchley, who had four assists in the period.
Towson midfielder David Shoul and attackman Glenn Smith scored in the first 1:06 of the second quarter to tie the score at 4.
Midfielder Seth Tierney put the Blue Jays ahead, 5-4, with a goal nearly 30 seconds later, but then Towson went on another scoring run with goals from Rob Shek, Shoul and Travis Boone to take a 7-5 lead with 7:27 left in the half.
But the Blue Jays got goals from Panetta and Lukacz to tie the game at the half.