Michael Ford and Bill McLean of Towson were often too much for opposing teams to handle this year. Yesterday, Southern of Anne Arundel County found out why.
Ford finished with three goals and seven assists, while McLean added seven goals to lead eighth-ranked Towson to a 17-6 victory over Southern in the Class 2A/1A state semifinal at UMBC yesterday.
Towson (14-0), which tied a state tournament record for goals in a game, advances to the state final against defending state champion Mount Hebron on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at UMBC Stadium. The 11th-ranked Vikings edged Fallston, 11-10, in overtime on Jason Vettri's goal.
Ford, who tied a state tournament record for most total points  in a game, used pinpoint passing to set up his teammates seven times. Five of his assists came in the first half as the Generals raced to an 11-0 lead. The Bulldogs' first goal didn't come until eight minutes, 15 seconds were left in the third quarter when John Moreland scored to make it 11-1.
"It was just a team effort," said Ford, Towson's leader in assists during the regular season. "We all wanted to win."
McLean is the Generals' finisher. He hangs around the crease trying to do some damage, and yesterday he did plenty, setting a state tournament record for goals in a game.
"You can give Mike Ford a lot of credit, he was just sending it in," said McLean, who was Towson's leading goal-scorer during the regular season. "All I care about is winning the game and going to the states. [The goals] don't matter to me."
Towson coach Randy Dase echoed Ford and McLean, saying his squad needed a total team effort for the victory. Dase said it was the best the Generals had played in over a month.
Dase said Towson wanted to stop Southern (9-6) from getting into unsettled situations, something the Bulldogs do well in. Also, the Generals wanted to play pressure defense and ride Southern defenseman Chris McQueeney off of faceoffs as he often sparked its transition game.
"The kids executed with perfection," said Dase. "They brought their briefcases. It was a business day."
Ben Donovan added three goals and two assists for Towson as did Scott Hoskins. Donovan and Scott Carpenter also helped Towson control most of the faceoffs, which let the Generals set up and take their time passing and finding the open man.
That helped Towson pepper Southern goalie Brian Barber with shots all day. Towson outshot Southern, 22-4, in the first half and 34-13 overall.
Paul Schiavone led Southern with two goals and one assist while Greg Prokaska added two goals.
The Generals jumped to a 5-0 lead after one period and added two more in the first minute, 35 seconds of the second quarter as Southern was a man down due to a three-minute non-releaseable stick penalty. But, Southern coach Jon Braun said that was not the difference.
"They were hitting 50 percent of their shots and nothing was working for us," said Braun, whose team scored the final four goals. "We dug ourselves a hole," said Braun, "and we couldn't get out of it."
Mount Hebron (15-2), which got a stellar 20-save performance from goalie Chris Paradian, trailed 5-2 in the first half and 9-7 after three. Fallston (11-4) took a 10-9 lead with 1:52 left on Jason Haselbeck's fourth goal of the game.
Mount Hebron's Doug Smith (three goals) then forced overtime on a goal with just 1:20 left. It was the final piece of a perfect three-pass play. Clay Shiflet started the break by hittilng Vettori, who then found Andrew Ballinger, who fed Smith.