Loyola defense gears up for free-wheeling Tigers

April 02, 1994|By Doug Brown and Jamison Hensley

No secrets. No surprises.

No. 7 Towson State has relied on its aggressive offense all season, while No. 2 Loyola's defense remains its foundation. No one has stalled the Tigers' offense, while no one can crack the Greyhounds' defense.

They meet tonight at Minnegan Stadium at 7:30.

"Towson is an extremely dangerous team offensively," Loyola coach Dave Cottle said. "Going into a Syracuse game, you think Towson would want to slow it down. But watching the film, you saw two teams with a bunch of thoroughbreds running up and down that field."

In the Tigers' 17-16 overtime loss to Syracuse on Saturday, Towson matched the Orangemen's offensive weapons and took 50 shots.

"They play with reckless abandon," Cottle said. "No shot is a bad shot. That's the way they always play, and it's their strength and weakness."

Towson averages 55 shots, 29 more than Loyola allows. But the Greyhounds say they are prepared for the Tigers' assault.

"I think [assistant] coach [Dave] Pietramala has emphasized that to us," Greyhounds junior goalie Tim McGeeney said. "They see an opening, and they are going to take it. I have to be prepared at all times. It's going to be a war all 60 minutes."

McGeeney (North County) is having a career year with a .653 save percentage, allowing only seven goals a game. McGeeney has been well-protected by junior Jason Foley, sophomore Brendan Fry, senior Bill Wilson and junior long-stick midfielder Matt Dwan. The goalie has faced 75 shots in 225 minutes.

"Loyola's defense is a lot different than most teams'," Towson State coach Carl Runk said. "They are capable of playing some matchup zone and man-to-man. They change your pace and you have to make adjustments."

Six of the past nine meetings between the Tigers and Greyhounds have been decided by two or fewer goals, including four by one goal. Loyola has won five of the past six, including last year's game, 12-8.

Hopkins host to '98 Worlds

Johns Hopkins will be host to the 1998 World Championships.

Also known as the World Games, the quadrennial event was last held at Hopkins in 1982, the last time the competition was staged in the United States. The current U.S. team, directed by Hopkins coach Tony Seaman, will defend its championship July 20-30 in Manchester, England.

Season of segments

In an attempt to restore her team to the national playoffs, Loyola coach Diane Aikens is breaking the season into segments. In the first segment, the Greyhounds are 6-0; Aikens will settle for a 5-1 and finally a 4-2 for a 15-3 record.

"We've been seventh the last two years, and they only take six teams to the nationals," Aikens said. "It's tough to stay focused over a long season, so we're taking the segments approach. In this next segment, we can afford to drop a game without getting frazzled about it."

UMBC catching breath

After six games in 13 days, UMBC (5-2) has had a full week to prepare for its next opponent, Penn State. And, said coach Don Zimmerman, the Retrievers "needed it."

UMBC has been wracked by shoulder injuries. Freshman Matt Shearer (13 points) and Stewart Walker (17) are doubtful for Penn State today.

Good team defense

Seaman has no difficulty explaining how Hopkins can score 19 goals against Syracuse, but be held to eight by Virginia.

"Virginia makes you work for your shots, has a better goalie and plays good team defense," Seaman said. "Against Syracuse, if you can beat your man, there's usually a clear path to the goal."

No. 5 Hopkins gets No. 6 North Carolina today at Homewood just as the Tar Heels are starting to roll. They have won three straight since losing three of their first four to Syracuse, Loyola and Princeton.

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