Hopkins rolls by Towson

May 01, 1994|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

As the sweat poured off Mark Goers' face, the Towson State sophomore midfielder tried to put his emotions into words. He stammered, kicked some dirt, looked to the sky and then stammered some more.

"You know, this is very hard to do, it really is," said Goers. "Our playoff chances have been severely jeopardized."

Most of Towson State's hopes for postseason play were left on the artificial turf at Homewood Field as No. 6 Johns Hopkins defeated No. 10 Towson, 13-9, yesterday.

"I think we're a good lacrosse team," said Towson coach Carl Runk. "Hopkins was a little better than us today, but I think we should be considered."

The Tigers will largely have to rely on strength of schedule to get a berth in the NCAA Div. I 12-team field. The only Top 10 foe Towson has beaten is No. 9 Maryland (14-7), while losing to No. 1 Syracuse (17-16 in overtime), No. 3 Loyola (13-12) and No. 11 Navy (13-12).

Towson gave Hopkins (8-3) a game for about three quarters. The Tigers (6-4) never regained the lead after taking a 2-1 advantage during the first three minutes of the game, and never rode any substantial momentum.

The Tigers also could not stop the Blue Jays' attack as Terry Riordan and Brian Piccola combined for eight goals, and David Marr had five assists.

Towson used a more deliberate style yesterday in an attempt to slow Hopkins. It was a strange twist, especially since the Tigers had succeeded earlier this season in running with Syracuse.

But the tactic backfired, as Towson never seemed comfortable in the offense. Two of the Tigers' top attackmen, Dudley Dixon and David Quinn, combined for two goals and two assists, but weren't big factors.

"We felt we could score on them, but we had to control the ball by winning the faceoffs," said Towson's Runk, now in his 26th season. "We did win the faceoffs, but we had too many errors, like overthrows or throwing the ball out of bounds. I didn't like our shot selection. We threw too many strikes at the goalie."

After Towson took the 2-1 lead, Hopkins' Riordan took control of the game. Marr gave Riordan a feed at the top of the crease for a goal that put the Blue Jays ahead, 3-2, with 4:58 left in the first period. Nearly two minutes later, Riordan scored from the same area.

The two teams traded goals in the first three minutes of the second quarter, and Dixon eventually tied the game with 9:08 left in the quarter.

But Riordan, after a sensational dodge at the top of the crease, scored with 2:09 left. Piccola, on an identical move, scored from the same area nine seconds later to give the Blue Jays a 7-5 lead they held at halftime.

Riordan contributed an assist and a goal in the final five minutes of the third period to put the Blue Jays ahead, 9-6. Towson's Steve Carcaterra scored his fourth goal of the game 50 seconds into the fourth quarter to cut the lead to two, but Riordan beat defenseman Mike Strohman for a goal, his fifth, with 10:37 left, and Piccola scored with 6:36 remaining to give Johns Hopkins an lead.

"Hopkins is a very explosive team, and we have the most inexperienced defense that I've ever had here," Runk said. "We expected their attack to do well, and they took advantage of our inexperience."

A four-goal lead was sufficient for Hopkins goalie Jonathan Marcus, who finished with 16 saves, including several one-on-one stops.

"Everytime they would pull within one or come back to tie, he [Marcus] would come up with the big save to stop them from going ahead," Riordan said. "He's the backbone of this team.

"We have a lot of great players on this team, maybe more than any other team in the country," Riordan said. "I think today we came together as a team."

Now they are focused on trying to get at least a No. 4 seed in the tournament. The Blue Jays still have a date with Loyola at Curley Field on Saturday.

"If we beat Loyola, that's six straight victories, including a win over a Top 4 team," said Riordan. "I don't see how they could ignore us."

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