PRINCETON, N.J. -- Tense. Draining. And, finally, electrifying.
Towson State's 14-13 triple-overtime win over Princeton in thNCAA lacrosse quarterfinals here yesterday was all those things.
It was tense because there was so much riding on it. NeitheTowson nor Princeton had ever been to the Final Four. The winner would advance to that level next weekend at Syracuse.
It was draining because the hard-fought battle went on . . . anon. After the regulation 60 minutes, the teams were tied at 13.
After a four-minute overtime period, it was still 13-13. Afteanother OT the score stayed the same.
In the end it was electrifying. Towson State's Lindsay Dixon, junior midfielder from Broadneck High School, took a feed from John Blatchley, ran three steps and 14 seconds into the third overtime fired a shot "with everything I had in me."
It went past Scott Bacigalupo, Princeton's All-Ivy freshman goalifrom St. Paul's School in Baltimore. Bacigalupo made 20 saves on the day -- nine of them in the fourth quarter -- but with Dixon's goal the game was over. For Princeton, so was the season.
The Palmer Stadium crowd of 4,431 was stunned by thsuddenness of it.
"We had our chances," said Bill Tierney, in his fourth year aPrinceton coach.
Princeton played poorly in the first half and trailed, 7-4, aintermission. But in the second half the home team outscored Towson, 9-6, to force the overtime. For the day Princeton outshot the Baltimore-area team, 45-41.
"I feel as if I've just lost a loved one," said dejected Princetodefenseman David Gaines, a junior from Baltimore's Gilman School. "There are five seniors on this team I'll never play with again."
Towson will play again this Saturday at the Carrier Dome againsMaryland, 16-13 victor over Brown yesterday, in the second game of the NCAA semifinals. On March 16, Maryland defeated Towson, 17-16, at Minnegan Stadium.
The high scorer this time for Towson with three goals and onassist was 6-foot, 215-pound Glenn Smith, a junior from Boys' Latin.
Steve Kisslinger, junior defenseman from Mahopac, N.Y., waoutstanding for the winners, stripping the ball from Princeton attackmen repeatedly. Kisslinger also faced off and even scored a goal. Richard Betcher played well in the goal with 18 saves.
The game's high scorer was Justin Tortolani, a 6-3, 105-pounjunior from Manhasset, L.I. Tortolani had five goals.
"I'm so proud of our team," said Towson's Carl Runk, in his 24tseason as coach, "and I'm proud of our state school system. Dick Edell [Maryland's coach] was my freshman coach when I started at Towson.
"I'm just elated to be in the Final Four and proud to be playinanother school from our state.
"I'll tell you, this game could have gone either way. Bill Tiernecould just as easily be sitting here now receiving congratulations."
It was Runk who sent in the winning goal by Dixon. Towson haan extra man after a 30-second holding penalty was called against Princeton's Brian Tomeo. Runk called for the same play that had resulted in a pipe shot four days earlier in the last-second, 14-13 Towson win at Virginia.
"Blatchley gets the ball behind the goal," Dixon explained, "anthe defense expects him to throw the ball to Glenn Smith. As soon as they turn their backs on me I cut and Blatchley lets me have the ball.
"At Virginia my shot hit the pipe and later Tony Millon scored thgame-winner. This time my shot went in."
Towson, which was seeded No. 11 in this tournament, has noreached the Final Four the hard way, going on the road to beat both Virginia, which was seeded No. 6, and Princeton, No. 3.
"This kind of game," Runk said of yesterday's thriller, "would brecommended by any coronary unit at any hospital in the United States. I mean, 13-13 in the third overtime. I didn't know until somebody just told me that this was the longest NCAA tournament game ever played."
"There's no need to go to Syracuse now," said Tom Gill, lacrosscoach at the Coast Guard Academy. "Nothing that happens up there can top this."